Tag Archives: Shrine

Secular Sufi shrine targetted in by Islamists lacking local support in sufi area. Sindh cities mourn Shikarpur shrine blast

Sindh cities mourn Shikarpur shrine blast

SHIKARPUR: Several cities of Sindh including Shikarpur, Hyderabad and Larkano are mourning the blast at a shrine in rural Sindh that resulted in four fatalities and left at least 12 people injured, Geo News reported Tuesday. …..

Read more » The News
http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-89756-Sindh-cities-mourn-Shikarpur-shrine-blast#

via – Facebook

Advertisements

Buddhist Taliban?

Buddhists Behaving Badly – What Zealotry is Doing to Sri Lanka

By: William McGowan

In Sri Lanka last September, a Sinhalese mob led by some 100 Buddhist monks demolished a Muslim shrine in the ancient city of Anuradhapura. As the crowd waved Buddhist colors, gold and red, a monk set a green Muslim flag on fire. The monks claimed that the shrine was on land that had been given to the Sinhalese 2,000 years ago — an allusion to their proprietary right over the entire island nation, as inscribed in ancient religious texts.

The Anuradhapura attack was not the only recent incident of Buddhists behaving badly in Sri Lanka. In April, monks led nearly 2,000 Sinhalese Buddhists in a march against a mosque in Dambulla, a holy city where Sinhalese kings are believed to have taken refuge from southern Indian invaders in a vast network of caves almost two millennia ago. The highly charged — but largely symbolic — attack marked a “historic day,” a monk who led the assault told the crowd, “a victory for those who love the [Sinhala] race, have Sinhala blood, and are Buddhists.”

Such chauvinism is at odds with Western preconceptions of Buddhism — a religion that emphasizes nonviolence and nonattachment — but is in keeping with Sri Lanka’s religious history. Militant Buddhism there has its roots in an ancient narrative called the Mahavamsa (Great Chronicle), which was composed by monks in the sixth century. According to the Mahavamsa, the Buddha foresaw the demise of Buddhism in India but saw a bright future for it in Sri Lanka. “In Lanka, O Lord of Gods, shall my religion be established and flourish,” he said. The Sinhalese take this as a sign that they are the Buddha’s chosen people, commanded to “preserve and protect” Buddhism in its most pristine form. According to myth, a young Sinhalese prince in the second century BC armed himself with a spear tipped with a relic of the Buddha and led a column of 500 monks to vanquish Tamil invaders. In addition to defending his kingdom from mortal peril, the prince’s victory legitimized religious violence as a means for national survival.

Continue reading Buddhist Taliban?

The journey to Ajmer: From Zia to Zardari

The journey to Ajmer: From Akbar to Zardari

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will become fourth head of state from the neighbouring country to visit the Sufi shrine and seek the saint’s blessings; he joins an elite list that includes Mughal emperors, prime ministers, presidents

From Mughal emperor Akbar who came praying for a son, to a relentless stream of around 12,000 people who throng every day, to Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari who will visit it on Sunday, the pull of the 12th century Sufi shrine of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti in Ajmer remains undiminished. ….

Read more » http://www.mid-day.com/news/2012/apr/060412-The-journey-to-Ajmer-From-Akbar-to-Zardari.htm

Afghanistan: Pakistani Extremist Group In Focus After Unprecedented Attack On Afghan Shi’a

By Abubakar Siddique

As Afghanistan recovers from a deadly and unprecedented attack on a Shi’ite shrine in Kabul, the finger of blame is pointing directly at a Sunni extremist group with a long history of carrying out such attacks in neighboring Pakistan.

At least 55 people were killed and more than 160 wounded in the December 6 suicide attack, which occurred as Shi’ite worshippers were assembled outside the shrine to commemorate Ashura, a Shi’ite religious holiday. A separate attack near an Ashura procession in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif killed at least four people.

Shortly after the midday attack in Kabul, a man claiming to be a spokesman for Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami contacted RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal to claim responsibility on behalf of the Pakistan-based militant group.

It was impossible to independently verify the claim made by the man, who identified himself as Qari Abubakar Mansoor.

The man first contacted a Radio Mashaal correspondent in Pakistan who covers the western Kurram tribal district, where the group is believed to be headquartered. A man going by the name of Qari Abubakar had previously contacted Radio Mashaal to provide information regarding the Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. Following RFE/RL’s report tying the group to the attack in Afghanistan, various media reported receiving similar claims from the same spokesman.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who cut short a European trip and returned to the Afghan capital to deal with the crisis, appeared to accept that the attack was carried out by Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. While visiting survivors of the attack in the hospital, he was quoted as telling reporters that “we are investigating this issue and we are going to talk to the Pakistani government about it.”

Ties To Al-Qaeda, Taliban

Farzana Sheikh, a Pakistan specialist at the Chatham House think tank in London, says the group evolved from the Anjuman-e Sipahe Shaba Pakistan, an extremist political party intent on transforming Pakistan into a Sunni state. One of its splinter groups, Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) was considered the most deadly sectarian militia in the South Asian state in the 1990s.

Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami is now considered a splinter group of the LeJ, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002 because of its role in the killing of thousands of Shi’a.

“Its roots really lie in southern Punjab [Province], in the district of Jhang, from where they have clearly spread to other parts of Pakistan,” Sheikh says, “but particularly the [southwestern province of] Balochistan, where they have been responsible, and indeed claimed responsibility, for a series of murderous attacks against Shi’a Hazaras.”

Sheikh says that the group once enjoyed close links to Pakistani intelligence agencies. This, she notes, enabled LeJ to maintain bases in Taliban-controlled Afghan regions because of Islamabad’s relationship with the Taliban regime. However, the LeJ’s Shi’a-killing campaign made it a prime security threat for Pakistan, according to observers.

Read more » Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (rferl)

http://www.rferl.org/content/pakistani_extremist_group_in_focus_after_afghan_sectarian_attack/24415027.html

News – Afghanistan: National Front Asks UN to Investigate Kabul Attack

The National Front Party on Thursday asked the UN to investigate the Kabul suicide attack which took place on Tuesday at Abul Fazl Shrine.

The National Front Leader Ahmad Zia Massoud said he welcomed and supported the decision made by Afghan government. He also stressed that investigation about the incident would be in the interest of Afghanistan.

“If the Afghan president is really intending to investigate about the issue and discuss it with Pakistan, a UN delegation should be assigned to investigate certain parts of the incident. The outcomes would be good, I think because Afghans have always had defensive strategy and have been silent towards all such incidents. This has caused Pakistani Generals to do whatever they want inside Afghanistan,” Mr Massoud said.

On Wednesday President Karzai said that he will investigate about the issue with the help of international community.

“Jhangvi is based in Pakistan. So, the Afghan government, with the support of the international community, will follow up on the issue. Afghanistan will never forgive the wounding of innocent children,” Mr Karzai said.

The deadly suicide attack at Abul Fazl Shrine in Kabul took the lives of more than 59 people and nearly 200 people were wounded in the incident.

Lashkari Jhangvi which is based in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Courtesy » ToloNews

Kabul shrine bomber was Pakistani, affiliated with LeJ: Afghan official

Karzai blames Lashkar-e-Jhangvi for Kabul blast

By AFP

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai Wednesday blamed the the sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) for a bomb at a Kabul shrine which killed 55 people, demanding justice from Pakistan, his spokesman said.

The comments are likely to antagonise further already tense relations with Islamabad, which boycotted Monday’s Bonn conference on the future of Afghanistan following NATO air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

“The president said he blamed the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi,” said Aimal Faizi following reports of a purported claim from the faction, blamed for scores of similar attacks on Shia Muslims in Pakistan.

“The president said that he will demand Pakistan take executive measures in this regard since this group is based in Pakistan so that justice can be done,” Faizi added.

Karzai’s comments came as he visited victims of the Kabul blast in hospital. He returned to Kabul earlier Wednesday after cutting short a trip to Europe to deal with the fallout of the unprecedented attack on Afghan Shias.

Afghan victims buried as fingers point to Pakistan

An Afghan official had earlier claimed that the bomber who attacked the shrine in Kabul was a Pakistani, affiliated with the sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Karzai vows to confront Pakistan over Kabul attack

KABUL: Afghanistan’s president says that the unprecedented suicide bombing at a Shia shrine in Kabul originated in Pakistan and is pledging to confront the Pakistani government about the attack.

President Hamid Karzai spoke Wednesday as he visited a hospital where scores of people wounded in the attack are being treated. At least 56 people, including an American citizen, were killed in the explosion, which occurred as Shias were commemorating the major Islamic holy day of Ashoura.

Karzai says the Afghan government has launched an investigation, but the group behind the attack is based in Pakistan and he will take the issue to the Pakistani government.

“Lashkar-e-Jhangvi which is based in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for this attack … We will investigate the issue very carefully and will discuss it with the Pakistani government,” Karzai said in Kabul.

Courtesy » DAWN.COM

Myths Monsters and Jihad

Myths and monsters – by Nadeem F. Paracha

In spite of the gradual infiltration of ubiquitous religious symbolism and mentality in the social spheres of everyday life, Pakistan has managed to remain afloat as a pluralistic society comprising various ethnicities, religions and Muslim sects.

However, starting in the late 1970s, an anti-pluralistic process was initiated by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship that soon spiralled beyond mere posturing and sloganeering.

With the ‘Afghan jihad’ raging against the former Soviet Union, Zia, his intelligence agencies and parties like the Jamat-i-Islami and Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam started embracing a narrow and highly politicised version of Islam. This was done to radicalise large sections of Pakistani Muslims who had historically been part of a more apolitical and tolerant strains of the faith.

Most Pakistanis related to the shrine culture and the sufi traditions of the subcontinent, and thus, were least suitable to fight a ‘jihad’ that Zia was planning to peddle in Afghanistan at the behest of the CIA. Pakistanis’ beliefs were not compatible at all with this new strain of a political Islam. To compensate this ideological ‘deficiency’, the Zia regime (with American and Arab money) helped start indoctrination centres in the shape of thousands of jihadist madrassas.

Almost all of them were run by radical puritans. These were preachers and ‘scholars’ who had become critical of the strains of the faith that most Pakistanis adhered to. Accusing these strains of being ‘adulterated’, they advocated the more assertive charms of ‘political Islam’, of the likes recommended by Abul Ala Maududi, Sayyid Qutb and Khurram Murad. …

Read more : DAWN

Sindh demonstrates traditional religious harmony

Sunnis as well as Hindus in Sindh, as they have done for centuries, joined the Shia minority in their mourning processions.. the same has held true for Hindu and traditional Sindhi festivals. Centuries old reports observe how entire cities participated in celebrations such as Holi and Ddiyaarii.. one 17th century observer noted that Thatto was closed for days for Holi celebrations.

– – – – – – –

Sindh demonstrates traditional religious harmony

By Jan Khaskheli, Karachi

People in Sindh have again shown sectarian harmony, a tradition set by their elders hundreds of years ago, taking out Muharram processions together. In all big and small cities and towns of rural Sindh, including Hyderabad, Sukkur and Khairpur, processions have been staged peacefully through marked routes.

People are keeping a close eye on any attempt to create sectarianism in the holy month of Muharram. They say that there is no visible security threat in their areas during the Ashura processions and Majalis. It is an old tradition that people of each sect visit major mosques of their villages and towns for Eid prayers while on the occasion of Ashura they gather at Imambargahs.

There are many Imambargahs in Hyderabad, Khairpur and small towns like Hala New, Matiari and Sehwan. Some of them are as old as 150 years, and hundreds of people from neighbouring areas come there to attend Majalis and take part processions, and take Niaz (food).

In Sehwan, the shrine of Qalandar Lal Shabaz is one of the most attractive places for visitors. It is on this shrine that processions from all neighbouring towns converge on Muharram 8 travel to join a big procession through fixed routes. As far as security is concerned, people say it is the government that makes such arrangements, otherwise people join the processions without any fear.

People give credit of this to Sufi saints, who played a key role in the region in teaching them to avoid spreading hatred rather and to promote peace and love. …

Read more : The News

The Sufis remain under attack in Pakistan

Blast kills five at Baba Farid’s shrine in Pakpattan

MULTAN: A bomb planted on a motorcycle exploded at the gate of the famous Baba Farid Shakar Ganj sufi shrine in central Pakistan’s Pakpattan district during morning prayers Monday, killing at least five people, officials said.

The blast at the shrine in Punjab province was the latest in a string of attacks targeting Sufi shrines in Pakistan. …

Read more : DAWN

Karachi – Suicide bombers strike Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine

Karachi: 5 killed in twin blasts at Abdullah Shah Ghazi shrine

At least 5 people have been killed and several others sustained injuries in twin blasts near shrine of Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi, Dunya News reported on Thursday. Two children, security guard and policeman are among the dead.
According to Dunya News correspondent, both the blasts were occurred near walk-through gates of the tomb. According to police, 5 people were killed in the blasts. Panic prevailed after the incident. Police and law enforcing agencies cordoned off the tomb and relief activities have been started.
Emergency has been imposed in Karachi hospitals and paramedical staff has been called. The injured are being shifted to nearby hospitals including Jinnah Hospital. Situation of some of the injured is stated to be critical.
President Zardari was in the Bilawal House when the blasts occurred in Abdullah Shah Ghazi’s shrine. Security around Bilawal House was increased after the incident.

Read more >> DunyaTV

Sindh – Entering another Realm- Mast Qalandar!

sehwa-sharif-festivalPakistan’s Sufis Preach Faith and Ecstasy

By Nicholas Schmidle
I stopped taking notes, closed my eyes and began nodding my head. As the drummer built toward a feverish peak, I drifted unconsciously closer to him. Before long, I found myself standing in the middle of the circle, dancing beside the man with the exuberant earlobes.

“Mast Qalandar!” someone called out. The voice came from right behind me, but it sounded distant. Anything but the drumbeat and the effervescence surging through my body seemed remote. From the corner of my eye, I noticed photographer Aaron Huey high-stepping his way into the circle. He passed his camera to Kristin. In moments, his head was swirling as he whipped his long hair around in circles.

“Mast Qalandar!” another voice screamed.

If only for a few minutes, it didn’t matter whether I was a Christian, Muslim, Hindu or atheist. I had entered another realm. I couldn’t deny the ecstasy of Qalandar. And in that moment, I understood why pilgrims braved great distances and the heat and the crowds just to come to the shrine. While spun into a trance, I even forgot about the danger, the phone calls, the reports of my disappearance and the police escort.

Continue reading Sindh – Entering another Realm- Mast Qalandar!

In Pakistan’s Punjab, an Unconvincing Crackdown on Terrorism

By Omar Waraich / Islamabad

Bowing to intense public pressure, Pakistan’s largest province has finally moved against some local militant groups. The Punjab government, which had until now preferred to look away, last week ordered a crackdown after a series of vicious terrorist attacks on religious groups branded by the militants as heretics, apostates or infidels. Over 40 people were killed on July 1 in an attack at Lahore’s most famous Sufi shrine, sparking outrage across the country as even moderate Muslims staged armed demonstrations and vowed to tackle the militants themselves if the Punjab government declined to act.

Punjab, Pakistan’s largest and wealthiest province, is home to a toxic mix of sectarian and Kashmir-focused jihadist groups that have operated with state patronage since the 1980s. The province also houses the greatest concentration of hard-line madrasahs that supply young, impressionable recruits to jihadist groups. Some of these groups have been responsible for some of the deadliest terror attacks in Pakistan and also in neighboring India and Afghanistan.

Read more >> Time.com