07/02/2010, 00.00
PAKISTAN
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Lahore Church in support of Sufis targeted by terrorism

by Fareed Khan
Justice and Peace: moderate Islam has been struck. The Government of Punjiab (the party of Nawaz Sharif) weak in the fight against the Taliban. Raza Rumi: Lahore destroyed piece by piece. Sufi communities have organized meetings in all mosques of the country to curb the fundamentalist Islam of the Taliban.

Lahore (AsiaNews) - "We condemn this attack. It is painful to see that people who witness a moderate Islam, such as the Sufi community, are prey to violence. It is also painful to see how even the population of large cities have become vulnerable and a target of terrorism, without any protection". This is the reaction of Dr.Peter Jacob, national secretary of Justice and Peace in Lahore given to AsiaNews in the immediate aftermath of the suicide attack on the Sufi shrine Data Ganj Bakhsh, the largest and most revered in Pakistan, which killed 42 people, wounding 175.

"Lahore - Jacob continues - is led by the Islamic party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and is the strongest in opposition. We think the government should take appropriate measures to stop the violence happening now to all moderate people, be they Muslims, Ahmadis, Sufis. The program of the Taliban is clear, we want that the government act immediately to combat it". According to many observers, the Punjab government has decided not to fight the Taliban and provide security to citizens. Almost a month ago the Taliban have struck two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, proving they are a present force in the city. But all this has not led to increased security. According to local media, the cameras were not working at the Sufi shrine and police on guard, after the first explosion, thought it was a party with fireworks.

Raza Rumi, a Pakistani expert on Sufism, posted the following comment on his website: "This is a barbaric attack and should serve as a wake up call. Data Saheb's shrine is not just another crowded place - it represents millennia of tolerant Sufi Islam which is directly under attack by the puritans. Last year, there were threats and the government had closed the place for a day or two. This time the worst of nightmares has come true”.

Rumi also calls for greater government involvement, "How much longer will we be mere spectators and see our great city blown to bits - culturally and physically. This is time for hard, concrete action and a major crackdown on all terrorist outfits that are operating in the country especially in Punjab with impunity".

According to information gathered by AsiaNews, the Sufi community of Pakistan had in recent months organized a series of meetings in the mosques of the country to encourage all Muslims to stop the spread of the fundamentalist creed of the Taliban.

Sufism is a mystical form of Islam popular in South and in central Asia, preached by pilgrims and hermits. However, it is considered heresy by the more orthodox Sunni Islam. The Taliban in Pakistan are authors of a far harder Islam, Wahhabism, which wants to destroy all forms of moderate or heretic Islam (Shia, Sufi, Ahmadi, etc ...).

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