Who are the Sufis and why does IS see them as threatening?

Source: The Conversation

Over 200 people were killed and many more injured in an attack on a Sufi mosque in Egypt’s North Sinai region on Friday. The assault began with a bomb exploding as people were finishing their Friday prayers. As people fled and ambulances arrived, militants opened gunfire on them. It is the deadliest ever attack on civilians in Egypt’s modern history.

This is not the first time a cherished Sufi site and Sufi worshipers have been the target of extremists. Earlier this year, in February, a bomb exploded at the tomb of a Sufi saint, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar, in southeastern Pakistan. In 2016, combatants of the so-called Islamic State distributed images of the supposed execution of a Sufi teacher. The same year, the Pakistani Taliban murdered a popular Sufi singer of Pakistan, Amjad Sabri. In 2010 the tomb of another Sufi saint Data Ganj Bakhshwas bombed in Pakistan.

In the past, IS has claimed responsibility for some attacks against Sufis and their institutions, although no one so far has claimed responsibility for Friday’s murderous assault.

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