Sufi Shrines Targeted By Muslim Extremists in Pakistan

Although contemporary discourse around Islam mostly paints the religion as monolothic, this couldn’t be further from the truth – there are many different interpretations of Islam, and much disagreement within the religion about the “right” way to be Muslim.  This is exemplified in recent attacks on Sufi shrines in Pakistan, which were perpetrated by fellow Muslims.  In 2010, 64 people died in violence perpetrated at Sufi shrines, a significant increase considering that only 81 people died in similar attacks from 2005-2009.  According to the New York Times, the attacks represent a direct effort to kill Sufi practitioners.

Sufism, a mystical sect of Islam that has long been criticized by Islamic fundamentalists for worshiping saints, rejecting some aspects of Islamic law, and centering traditions around music and dance, is in some ways been more accessible for Westerners than other interpretations of Islam.  The United States openly supports Sufism, and since 2001 has given more than $1.5 million to the restoration and conservation of Sufi shrines in Pakistan.

The attacks on Sufi shrines are thus understandable; Sufism in Pakistan represents a dual threat to Islamic radicals, who use the violence as a way of retaining their supporters.  But the increasing danger to Sufi worshipers doesn’t seem to be deterring them.  Thousands of people still visit the shrines, despite the attacks.

It’s important to note that there are many Islamic hard-liners who disapprove of Sufism but would never condone attacking a shrine.  Pir Tayyab, a cleric who has been associated with militant organizations, explained to the NYT that he finds the singing and dancing that takes place at shrines to be “disrespectful,” but bombing a shrine was still unacceptable.  “It is not correct to disrespect a grave or to remove someone from his grave,” he said.

This story, apart from being a tragic reminder of the dangers that ordinary Pakistani citizens face, is a good example of how complex Islam really is.  Islamic fundamentalist militants are as concerned with purifying their own religion as with attacking the West (some, in fact, see the cleansing of Islam as a more important goal), and perpetrating violence against fellow Muslims can be justified in the name of this goal.

Photo from *_* via flickr.


Johan Tristan Aslim

As Jonas Yunus says: "The violence of discrimination and the oppression of a Muslim monoculture creeps further into the Pakistani society, alienating the people even further from their traditional understanding of Islam." (see:–-the-tolerant-antidote)

jane richmond
jane richmond6 years ago

all muslims are not created equal even to other muslims.

Walter G.
Walter G7 years ago

I view my fellow Care 2 members remarks, and try as I may not to, i do draw a parallel between what Muslim extremism is doing today and what Christianity has done, beginning before the 'Crusades' in the past. Christianity was then, and still is now, self touted as being, as most religions claim, "The one true (fill in the blanks) Religion, at least in my humble definition, is whatever one's personal belief about morality happens to be. The last thing religion is, in my own definition, organized movements, thoughts, and derivations resulting in collection of legal tender from the many to support the few exalter. Ponzi schemes are illegal in many countries, unless they proclaim themselves to be religions, and oh, BTW, tax free of course. Many 'members' of a religion pretend to subscribe to it for selfish, secular reasons. Hey, if you, on your own, without any rules or fear of punishment, treat your neighbors as you would treat yourself and family, don't do any gossiping or social back-stabbing, publish private parties' secrets in social networking, and refrain from releasing methane in a noisy manner in the line a the unemployment agency or bank, and in general if you live, not just act in a socially responsible manner, then you have a much stronger religion advantaging you more than that of any handful, or throng of Hippocrates.

Lydia S.
Lydia S7 years ago

Well Salma, Nothing you or a muslim apologist says will change the reality of what islam is, has been, and WILL ALWAYS BE. As Wafa Sultan has said, "Islam cannot be 'reformed', & should not be reformed". It should be discarded totally, because there is nothing worth preserving or reforming!

Your diatribe, filled with excuses does not change the daily reality. Your twisted logic does not add anything to the discourse.

Islam's Latest Contributions to Peace:
"He who fights that Islam should be superior fights in Allah's cause" Muhammad, prophet of Islam

Jan 14, 2011 (Khasavyurt, Dagestan) - Islamists bomb a cafe, leaving two people dead.

Jan 14, 2011 (Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan) - Religion of Peace advocates, slaughter a policewoman and her family in her home, including her children.

Jan 13, 2011 (Karachi, Pakistan) - A Shia is shot to death in a targeted attack by a Sunni.

Jan 13, 2011 (Peshawar, Pakistan) - Islamic Terrorists murder a member of a peace committee outside a mosque.

Jan 13, 2011 (Sardikhel, Pakistan) - Hardliners take down five local police with a remote-controlled bomb.

Jan 13, 2011 (Baghdad, Iraq) - Two people are killed in bombings near a mosque.

That's just two days last week ... Now Salma, I will no longer respond to your lies ... I would simply be dignifying your remarks & giving credibility to your non-arguments!

Salma A.
Salma-Ahmad Khan7 years ago

People "Islam" means Submission to the WILL OF ONE & ONLY GOD~ like all prophets{as=peace be upon them}~~~NOTTT submitting to any one else!!~
*Ahmadinijad DID NOT deny holocaust~he raised some legitimate Qs. Does any one know Farsi~~~or do we only listen to the soundbites of fox news~Pathetic!!!

YESSS!!!The drones Killing the PAKISTANIS areeeee MY INNOCENT PAKISTANIS! Millions of Iraqis, Afghanis,Palestinians are MY INNOCENT brothers, sisters, children~ Innocent killed in Tuscon, Columbine ARE MY BROTHERS, SISTERS & CHILDREN ~~~IRRELEVENT OF their religion, race, color or ethnicity!!!!
cAN ANY oNE TELL ME HOW MANY PRESIDENTS HAVE BEEN ASSASSINATED IN US & ON HOW MANY THE ATTEMPTS have been made! WHO can tell me how many politicians have been killed in US & on how many attempts have been been made!!! It's silly to keep doing he did ~she did!
Why is Julian Assange getting death threats from Americans~and why are we asking that he be sent to US~just because he HAS THE COURAGE TO DIG THE TRUTH~just coz he told the TRUTH! Why is Bradley Manning ROTTING IN THE SOLITARY CONFINEMENT ~just coz they suspect tht he leaked their FRAUD, LIES & CHEATING to the benefit of THE PUBLIC~what a standard of FAIRNESS! I PERSONALLY attended the trial of Afia Siddiqui~~~WHAT A MOCKERY OF JUSTICE!!! a SIX YEAR OLD COULD HAVE DELIVERED BETTER JUSTICE!!! i WON'T MENTION BAGRAM & GUANTANAMO.There are thousand of Muslims who are being detained & tortured merely on desp

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago

Noted :0!!!!!

Salma A.
Salma-Ahmad Khan7 years ago

The Illegal, Illegitimate child of US & the Wast {hope u guessed it~the zionist israel}has done to the INNOCENT Palestinian MEN, WOMEN ANNNNND CHILDREN worst than what was DONE TO them{deprivation of food water & even the rudimentary services like proper sewer} AT Auschwitz~their society has already started to decay from inside~Can you see the American Empire crumbling from the inside too~it's like moths are making it hollow~~~creating a COLOSSAL catastrophy TO GAIN POLITICAL BENEFITS & then making muslims the smoke screen~~~what a brave act & then on lies going to war wth two countries & extending it to the third & through the whole Muslim World which is also the oil belt~WHAT HI HOLY BEHAVIOR!
Like Robert Fisk says~ "imagine for a minute if Canada attacks ~US for the same reasons that US has attacked the Muslim countries~ what would be the reaction of the average American"!
How stupid can we be ~after wiping out the whole populations~~~still we ask the Q~ why do the people around the world hate us~! Go ask a monkey he'll give the answer! Is this American notion of peace & harmony!
I'll be the last person to cover the faults of Muslims ~there are good & evil in all races, enthicities,nationalities annnd religions~~~by the same token I'll NOT BE SILENT against the INJUSTICE, DOUBLE STANDARD,bigotry, MisInformation & Falsehood!!

Salma A.
Salma-Ahmad Khan7 years ago

I Know Jesus {as=peace be upon him} & alllll the other Prophets better THAN u thru QURA'AN. The bible doesn't have all the detail about him {as} that Qura'an gives!!! So~WHY SHOULDN'T i go to the ONLY PURE & the DIRECT SOURCE! THE BIBLE ISN'T even in it's original form. And whose bible are you talking about ~~~ehhh!!! they even differ drastically with ea other on the core issues~~~ take Qura'an from any partOthe world or from the original time when it was revealed till today~& u'll not even find an iota of difference ~thisIS THE MIRACLE of the QURA'AN~like I said before GOD TOOK IT ON HIMSELF TO PRESRVE IT FOR EVER. If he had left it to the ppl. Qura'an too would have been corrupted many times by Now!!!
If it makes you feel any better ~~~I went to Catholic School!!!
After this post noooo matttter what u write ~~~willllll NOT RESPOND to u!!!!

Salma A.
Salma-Ahmad Khan7 years ago

Lydia S,
*1st.the typo correction~itSHOULD be read as "ethnicities".

u DO have ur head stuck in in the sand or perhaps mud & can't even PULL it out! i DON'T need any grants from you~u truncate history like your relative Hitler did to your cross. He was Jewish from his father's side & Christian from his mother's side! SO what if he met the mufti of Palestine. It is his parenting & genealogy that define him the monster that he was~when a christian/jew goes on a killing rampage it is an isolated case by a deranged person ~nahhh! you have excuses for every thing Abomb or u name it! iF i STARTED COUNTING THE MUTINIES & GENOCIDES, MASS MURDERS& KILLINGS of US&west~Burning thousands of books in Spain by illiterate crusaders which Muslims had translated from Greek&all othr languages over centuries{where Muslims,jews&christiansALLL lived in peace&harmony~u know what happened~right & u've a lame excuse too} of the west I'll be sitting here for months at a stretch typin n stil won't be done!
If Democracy Now's a prblm for u~ then ur OBVIOUS source isGeer Wilders & his ilk. Against my wishes{i wanted u to find these sources on ur own} I'll refr to u a few other sources. Read Sir Robert Fisk, Norman Finkelstein, Jeremy scahill, Noam Chomsky,Naomi Klein and manyyy more!Truth out,Wisdom Fund, Truth dig,common dreams or simply watch/listen to any othr country's media u'll get a very clear pixOevery thing.
U cn keep tautologizing abt Islam n

Lydia S.
Lydia S7 years ago

Salma wrote: "If you Want to hear the "THE TRUTH" watch "Democracy Now" {it's nOt Muslim owned tv l} & you'll enlighten your self!"

-- "Democracy Now" is occasionally worth watching, but it's mostly left-wing propaganda; I don't need enlightenment!

"The Dictionary that you are using to describe Muslims IS "fox" news chennel. That's the kind of media you depend On whether print or other wise~sooo you get your resources cleansed out."

I don't use a "dictionary" to describe muslims ... Muslims define themselves by their acts of violence & then try to hide behind false claims of "peace"! I ASKED YOU TO DEFINE PEACE & HARMONY! I see you have failed to do even that! How DO you define those two words. Give me ACTUAL EXAMPLES OF MUSLIM COUNTRIES WHERE PEACE & HARMONY EXIST ... Dar al islam!

I don't watch Fox - not the news, nor the "chennel" ;-) ... and I don't need my resources "cleansed out". You see, I've watched the videos posted by muslim terrorists on the internet -- SO I KNOW WHAT ISLAM IS ALL ABOUT! I don't believe in burying my head in the sand - I confront the truth head-on and make sure I'm well informed!