Egypt attack: Why were Sufis targeted?

I’m not sure how peaceful in the long run Sufis actually are; they follow the same flawed Mohammed as their example of perfection and the same Koran with its verses of the sword abrogating everything peaceful that came before. But to IS they are the wrong kind of Muslim and therefore a threat. From Sky News. 

A bomb and gun attack in the north Sinai has brought new devastation to Egypt, with at least 235 killed in one of the country’s most brutal assaults in memory.

Gunmen wreaked havoc in a mosque in the town of Bir al Abed, targeting the Sufi Muslim community that worshipped there. The mosque was largely attended by Sufi Muslims, seen as non-believers by Islamic State.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, but Egypt’s state news agency MENA said it “appeared” to have been carried out by IS.

Some analysts think Sufism – a movement known for its mystical and introspective approach to Islam – is targeted by Islamic State because it is seen as a non-military threat to the group.

“The Sufis are succeeding in drawing hundreds of youths from the terrorist organisation in a way the military hasn’t been able to do,” Mr Sabry, a journalist and analyst who has worked extensively in the Sinai, said. “And I believe that the most important point, for ISIS, is to eliminate their ideological rival rather than a military rival.”

IS did not take immediate responsibility for the Friday attack, but reports said it showed the hallmarks of the group. Its Egypt branch has killed hundreds of people in the north Sinai, targeting the army as well followers of Sufism and Christianity.

It views Sufi practices – such as different kinds of chanting or prayers, and maintaining the shrines of holy figures, and a focus on achieving purity to witness the presence of God – as against Islam.

In the troubled north Sinai, where the Sufi community has been firmly established for centuries, there has been a long-running struggle with newer hardline Salafi groups like IS. Jihadists last year beheaded an elderly Sufi leader on charges of witchcraft, and the group published a newsletter saying combating Sufism was a priority.

Followers of the belief system have suffered attacks elsewhere, too. Leaders and shrines are targeted in low-level violence in Iraq and Syria, as well as more spectacular attacks: last November 52 people were killed and this February 83 died in an IS attack on a Sufi shrine, both in Pakistan.

The Sufi community in the Sinai, Mr Sabry said, is one known for its persistence, and after enduring many attacks on clerics and holy places it will take a lot to shatter the strength it’s built up over many years.But he said there is a fear that such a spectacular and horrific attack could indicate more brutality to come. “If it’s the beginning of a pattern it could be the beginning of a war against Sufis that could be much more more terrifying,” he said.


One Response

  1. Around the world, Muslims, whether they be Sufis, Sunnis, Shias, or some other minor sect, are the largest group of victims of the misogynistic, totalitarian, political ideology that we know as Islam.

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