This latest attack on Sufis in Pakistan highlights some of the prevailing myopia about the jihad problem. The Sufis are often cited as proof that Islam can reform and be non-violent, which is not precisely accurate since Sufis have never rejected violent jihad in principle, and the Chechen jihad was led by Sufis for quite some time. What’s more, Muslim Brotherhood founder Hasan al-Banna was greatly influenced by the Sufis, and prescribed Sufi spiritual exercises for the early Brothers.
But even if one grants that the vast majority of Sufis understand jihad solely and wholly as an interior spiritual struggle, as Hillary Clinton might ask, what difference does it make? In Pakistan, Sunni Muslims who believe Sufis to be heretics murder them in jihad attacks like this one. And even if the majority of Pakistanis are Sufis, as this AP article claims, what is this Sufi majority doing to rein in those Misunderstanders of Islam who believe that jihad involves violence against unbelievers. Nothing. Nothing at all.
So are the Sufis the great hope of the West? Dream on, Mr. Kerry — at least they’re marginally preferable to that other great hope, the Muslim Brotherhood.
“Pakistan: Gunmen kill 8 at religious gathering,” by Adil Jawad for the Associated Press, February 9 (thanks to Kenneth):
KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Gunmen threw grenades at a Sufi Islamic religious gathering Sunday in the port city of Karachi and then opened fire on the people assembled to offer prayers, killing eight, officials said.
Eight more people were wounded in the attack, said Aftab Chanur, an official at the hospital who gave the death toll.
The four gunmen on motorcycles first lobbed grenades at the building where a Sufi cleric was receiving his followers, then raked it with automatic fire, said police official Javed Odho. He said women and children were among the dead and wounded.
Pakistan is 95 percent Muslim, and the majority practice Sufi-influenced Islam.
But their shrines and followers have come under attack in Pakistan by Sunni Muslim militants who don’t consider them to be true Muslims.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack. But suspicion is likely to fall on militants such as the Pakistani Taliban or their affiliated sectarian groups who follow a strict interpretation of Islam that considers many other Muslims such as Sufis or minority Shiites to be heretics. In recent years militants have often targeted shrines, which they consider to be sacrilegious.
In January, militants killed six people at the shrine of a Sufi saint in Karachi. After that attack, militants also threatened the cleric who was targeted Sunday, telling him he should close down the house of worship where he would receive his followers, said Odho, the police official….