The Widening War Against Sufism in Egypt

(NewsGram-India) Stephen Schwartz - In the aftermath of the Egyptian Revolution, the networks of the Muslim Brotherhood have appeared to many as prepared to assume political leadership of the country. While the Brotherhood now disclaims violence and radicalism in religion, it shares an extensive history with the more aggressive, so-called "Salafis." In Egypt, Islamist radicals had, recently, mainly targeted Coptic Christians, but anti-Sufi aggression commenced with depredations in Alexandria, in which Sufis account for one in eight city-dwellers, and Sufi shrines and mosques are prominent landmarks. The city's most famous mosque, named for and sheltering the tomb of Al-Mursi Abu'l Abbas, a Spanish-born 13th century Sufi, was one of the first sites reportedly invaded by extremists. An important example of village Muslim resistance to Wahhabi intrusion was reported in Egypt on 3 April, in the Nile delta district of Al-Qalyubiya. A party of more than 20 radicals, carrying sledgehammers and crowbars, arrived at the Sidi Abdel Rahman shrine after nightfall, hoping to demolish it. Alarm spread in the community and residents turned out to repel the radicals, beating two of them. Five Sufi shrines had already been destroyed in Al-Qalyubiya.

2011-04-15 00:00:00

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