SUFI MUSLIMS ARE AMONG THEIR CHIEF TARGETS: NYTIMES - (LINK HAS VIDEO): The Islam That Hard-Liners Hate
In Pakistan’s heartland, holy men with bells tied to their feet close their eyes and sway to the music. Nearby, rose petals are tossed on tombstones. Free food is distributed to devotees.IN IRAQ, THE SECTARIAN GENOCIDE IS WELL-KNOWN. AND ONE OF ITS CHIEF PROPONENTS HAS JUST RETURNED:Sadrists Project Confidence in Iraq
This peaceful tableau is part of Sufism, Pakistan’s most popular brand of Islam, which attracts millions of worshipers at about a dozen major festivals throughout the year. Each day, thousands visit shrines dedicated to Sufi saints.
But the rituals came under heavy attack in 2010, as minority hard-line militants took responsibility for five shrine attacks that killed 64 people — a marked increased compared with 2005 to 2009, when nine attacks killed 81 people.
Attacks in previous years occurred in the middle of the night or when worshipers were not present, apparently in an effort to avoid causalities. But in 2010, terrorists carried out suicide bombings when thousands of worshipers were present, and in the nation’s largest cities, like Karachi and Lahore.
The increase in attacks, and a direct effort to kill those who practice a more mystical brand of Islam, has torn the fabric of mainstream worship in Pakistan. But as worshipers continue to visit the Sufi shrines and many Sufi festivals continue in the face of threats, it also evidences the perseverance of Pakistan’s more moderate brand of Islam.
“It’s a very disturbing picture that militants have extended their targets to shrines, which are symbols of popular Islam in Pakistan and are widely visited,” said Rasul Bakhsh Rais, a professor of political science at Lahore University of Management Sciences. “However, I don’t think the militants are succeeding – thousands of people still visit the shrines despite these attacks.”
Although there is no official data, the number of people who informally follow Sufi traditions is believed to be in the millions. They have long been condemned as un-Islamic by fundamentalist groups because they worship saints and perform music and dance.
The United States, meanwhile, sees Sufi Islam as a counter force to terrorism, and has helped promote it by giving more than $1.5 million since 2001 on the restoration and conservation of Sufi shrines in Pakistan.
It was fewer than seven lines of handwritten Arabic on a small piece of paper, bearing his stamp. But with it, Moktada al-Sadr, son of a revered ayatollah and scourge of the American occupation, made clear on Thursday that he was in charge again of a group that has begun shaping Iraq as the United States withdraws.CIVIL WAR MAY BEGIN AGAIN - AND SOONER THAN YOU THINK. WHY!? IT'S IN IRAN'S INTERESTS.
Shiite worshipers turned out Thursday for evening prayer at the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf. Moktada al-Sadr has a home in the city, where supporters gathered in hopes of seeing him.
Moktada al-Sadr is viewed by followers as a savior and a mystic, as evidenced by memorabilia for sale at a market in Kufa, Iraq.
“The lack of discipline of some of you as I performed my religious rituals bothered me and hurt me,” he said, scolding his followers for the rapturous welcome the day before. “Please exercise discipline and refrain from excessive chants and pushing which harms me, others, you, your reputation and the reputation of the Sadr family.”
Or, translated more loosely, this is not yesterday’s movement.
In scene after scene on Thursday, a day after Mr. Sadr returned from more than three years of exile in Iran, signs abounded of the new face his movement is projecting, with him in charge. Not least was a security detail outfitted in gray suits or khaki that looked borrowed from a mercenary outfit.
MEANWHILE, BRITAIN HAS RAISED ITS TERROR-ALERT:
Without confirming the reports, Scotland Yard said the current national level meant that “an attack is highly likely,” promising to “police accordingly and use a range of covert and overt tactics which remain under constant review.”
But the police declined to offer specific details of those tactics or to discuss whether the threat levels had been raised or not. Television footage showed police wearing flak jackets and armed with automatic weapons patrolling airport check-in halls, accompanied by dogs trained to sniff out explosives.
British security authorities use a twin-track security alert system, setting a national level, which is usually made public, while making assessments, usually kept secret, of threats to specific areas.
The national level has been at “severe” for a year, the police said. Security officials said the specific threat assessment for transport hubs had been increased from “substantial” to “severe.”
The first word of the heightened alert — following similar alarms in continental Europe — came on Thursday night when television stations reported that leave had been canceled for transport police.
THE ATTACKS IS MOST CERTAINLY BEING PLANNED BY ISLAMISTS.
ISLAMISTS WHO ARE LITERALLY FOLLOWING THEIR PROPHET AND THEIR "HOLY" BOOKS.
IOW: THE CORE PROBLEM IS ISLAM ITSELF.
ISLAM IS A THREAT TO MUSLIMS AS MUCH AS TO NON-MUSLIMS AND INTERNATIONALLY.
IT HAS BEEN FROM THE VERY START - FOR MORE THAN ONE THOUSAND YEARS.
WHAT MAKES IT WORSE IS THE FACT THAT THE WEST IS CRUMBLING FROM WITHIN DUE TO LEFTISM AND POSTMODERNISM.
IF IRAN GETS A NUKE - OR IF PAKISTAN'S FALLS INTO THE HANDS OF THE ISLAMISTS, THEN THE WAR SHALL BE FOUGHT ON ITS MOST HORRIFYING PLATEAU.
WE CAN PREVENT THAT BY ACTING FIRST.
UNFORTUNATELY, OBAMA IS AN APPEASER WHO WON'T PREEMPTIVELY ATTACK.
THEREFORE, I EXPECT WW4 TO GO NUCLEAR IN THE NEXT 2 YEARS.
UNLESS ISRAEL ACTS. NO LATER THAN 2012.