Sufism returns to Afghanistan after years of repression

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Article first appears in BBC

The arena of religion and peace properly involves many styles of religious adherence, and many dimensions of religious structures and values

It has long been recognized in the religion-and-peace community that mystics represent a unique and special group with insights and benefits not found in other valid ways of being religious.

This BBC article describes a hopeful development in Afghanistan:

Sufism returns to Afghanistan after years of repression
Dawood Azami ("BBC," February 23, 2011)

Kabul, Afganistan - As the Afghan government and its international allies intensify efforts to bring the conflict to an end, the role and influence of mystics is being sought to help bring the Taliban into talks on a political solution.

Sufism or Islamic mysticism was once suppressed by the Taliban, but the sect is recovering its place in the country and its millions of followers are once more emerging from the shadows.

Sufis have considerable influence in both rural and urban settings - they are an effective popular force to bring change into society - and people consider them as disinterested mediators in disputes.

''The influence of Sufis will be very significant in bringing peace and tranquillity,'' says Sayed Mahmood Gailani, a Sufi master.

Read the entire article here.

'Home of saints'

Given the respect and influence Sufis enjoy among the local population, their involvement at the grass roots level could help the peace process in war-torn Afghanistan.

Although Taliban members come from various backgrounds, some have great respect for Sufis and are even followers of Sufism.

"Influential and knowledgeable Sufis can persuade a large number of Taliban to lay down their arms and can also provide guarantees to the Taliban about their safety and peaceful future,'' a Sufi leader, Ahmad Shah Maududi, said.

'Sufism has been part of Afghanistan almost as long as Islam itself - more than 1,300 years. Afghanistan is commonly called "the home of Sufi saints". The mystics have been an integral part of the life of the people for centuries.

Read the entire article here.

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Frank Kaufmann published on February 25, 2011 12:04 AM.

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