Friday, October 12, 2007

The war against popular Islam

by Praveen Swami from The Hindu

Thursday’s bombing of the saint’s shrine at Ajmer — the third in a series of attacks on Muslim religious institutions after the 2006 bombing of a Sufi shrine in Malegaon and this summer’s strike at the Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad — have been characterised as attempts to provoke a pan-India communal war. Islamist critics of Sufism loathe shrines like that at Ajmer, which they claim propagate the heresy of shirk – an Arabic term commonly translated to mean polytheism, but also the veneration of saints and even atheism. South Asian terror groups associated with recent attacks on Muslim shrines — notably the Lashkar-e-Taiba — draw theological inspiration from the Salafi sect, sometimes referred to as Wahabbism. Salafi theologians are intensely hostile to Sufi orders, characterising them as apostasy.

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