Tuesday, April 5, 2011


Pakistan (AP) - A pair of Taliban suicide bombers struck one of Pakistan’s most important Sufi Muslim shrines on Sunday, killing at least 50 people and wounding 100 who were celebrating the anniversary of its founder’s death with music, meditation and other practices abhorred by Islamist militant groups.  Another bomber was wounded when his explosive vest partially detonated, so he can be arrested.  Several thousand people were marking the 942nd anniversary of the death of the saint Ahmad Sultan, better known as Sakhi Sarwar, at his shrine in the Dera Ghazi Khan district of Punjab province when the bombers struck crowds waiting outside.  The attack on the Sakhi Sarwar shrine ended a months-long respite in a relentless militant campaign against the shrines founded by ancient adherents of Sufism.
From one-room tombs in small villages to large complexes in major cities, Sufi shrines are visited by millions of Pakistanis. The sites are anathema to the Pakistani Taliban, al-Qaida and other militant followers of the austere brand of Wahabi Islam that originated in Saudi Arabia.  Followers of the Barelvi school of Islam, one of the two main branches of the religion in Pakistan, consider themselves the custodian of the shrines.  They have been one of the main targets of Islamist militants since some of their leaders issued edict calling suicide bombings religiously illegitimate.  The Sufi is a mystical branch of Islam that sees dancing, chanting and visiting holy sites as expressions of devotion to God.  They are considered heretical by Islamist militants.

Two suicide bombers set off an explosion on Sunday evening at a Sufi shrine compound in Pakistan, killing at least 50 people. More than 110 people, including women and children, were wounded.  The attack was aimed at a popular shrine of a 12th-century Sufi saint, Sakhi Sarwar, in Dera Ghazi Khan, a remote district of Punjab Province.  An annual festival was in progress as hundreds of worshipers thronged the shrine compound when the attackers detonated their explosives.  Religious intolerance should always be avoided, it is the source of hatred and sectarian violence against other manifestations of faith toward God.

Dharmists (those who follow Sanatana-dharma, the Vedic path) often welcome other religions, as in the way we have seen so many that have settled in India and made it their home, such as Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, the Parsis, Jews, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Baha’i, etc. While Christians and Muslims, on the other hand, have a vast history of destroying any other culture or people in whichever land they invaded. This is a profound difference that history cannot deny. Intolerance kills.  So, we can see the liberality, kindness and openness of Dharmists, yet in any Muslim country, they allow but one religion to flourish, and any other religion must practice undercover, or they are persecuted and driven out or even thrown into prison, just as we are seeing many Hindus and Christians being driven out of Pakistan, Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, etc.

Stephen Knapp (Śrīpad Nandanandana dasa) :
“Why All Religions Are Not the Same”
http://www.stephen-knapp.com  -  http://www.stephenknapp.info/

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