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Sindh's Sufi ethos under siege from militant outfits

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Karachi [Pakistan], Oct.31 (ANI): Panelists attending the second Sindh Literature Festival here over the weekend have said that the ethos of Sufism is under siege from militant outfits and called for adopting a counter-narrative to defy growing militancy in the region.

Condemning the recent attacks on Sufi shrines and people associated with that school of thought in Sindh, speakers participating in the session titled ‘Sufism and Society’, said the provincial socio-cultural landscape has undergone a sea change in the past few years.

Lamenting that diversity, tolerance, Sufi practices and progressive politics were missing in Sindh, thenews.com.pk web site quoted prominent journalist Riaz Sohail, as saying “In countries such as the United States, Pakistan, Nigeria and India, a debate over Sufism being a solution to today’s militancy has started taking place. We (in Pakistan) should also find a narrative within it.”

Social researcher Nazish Brohi was quoted, as saying, “Sufism had its opponents in the past too; a number of religious leaders, such as Maududi and Abdullah Yusaf Azzam were against it. But today, political Islam’s opposition has become violent.”

Nazish added that attacks on shrines are a new phenomenon.

She claimed that militant outfits are making inroads in Sindh with the local population’s support and this can clearly be seen through the growth of madrassas across Sindh.

Nazish was quoted, as saying, “Mainstream parties mainly focus on large urban centres and encourage elites and the influential, while militant outfits focus on rural and underprivileged towns.”

Poet Shah Muhammad Pirzada said some elements exploit the term Sufism for their own political and personal interests.

“Because of blind faith on shrines, it is very easy for the spiritual leaders associated with the school of thought to use shrines and devotees for their political interests,” he stated.

Vocalist of the Sufi band ‘The Sketches’ Saif Samejo said, “It is their fundamental right to do anything that gives them happiness. Sufism is an individual’s inner voice.” (ANI)

 

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