07/12/2010, 00.00
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Lahore : interfaith solidarity towards Sufis targeted by terrorism

by Inayat Bernard*
A delegation of Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus visited the Data Dabar mosque. Religious leaders have condemned the July 1 attack, which caused over 40 deaths and 170 injuries. Yesterday, street demonstrations in the city, present the International Sufi Conference and other Muslim organizations.

Lahore (AsiaNews) – Protests are ongoing against the 1 July double suicide attack on the Data Darbar mosque in Lahore, which caused over 40 deaths and 170 wounded . Yesterday the International Sufi Conference and other Muslim organizations have demonstrated along the streets. Solidarity with the Pakistani Sufi community has also been expressed by Christian, Sikh, Muslim and Hindu religious leaders who visited the mosque in recent days.

Yesterday in Lahore Muslim groups protested against the attack, stressing that "terrorists have no religion" and that the faithful have been "vilified in the name of terrorist acts." The demonstrators marched through the city, stopping at local administrative offices and Press Club.

In recent days, a delegation of the National Council for Interreligious Dialogue, led by Fr Francis Nadeem, visited Data Dabar to condemn the attacks, express solidarity with the Muslim brothers and condolences to relatives of victims. The group included Christians, Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus.

Fr. Nadeem said that "believers of all faiths" have come together to "express solidarity with the Muslim brothers and sisters".  The mosque, said the priest, is a "place of peace" and people "come here for peace of heart." The followers of all religions must also take "concrete steps - affirmed the religious leaders – so that Pakistan can" overcome terrorism "and" guarantee peace and security in the country.

Sufism is a mystical form of Islam popular in South and in central Asia, preached by pilgrims and hermits. But it is considered heresy by the more orthodox Sunni Islam. The Taliban in Pakistan are supporters of hardline Islam, Wahhabism, that wants to destroy all forms of Islam they deem moderate or heretical (Shia, Sufi, Ahmadi, etc ...).

* Fr. Inayat Bernard is a Pakistani priest of the Archdiocese of Lahore and secretary of the Catholic Press Association of Pakistan

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