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Series of terror attacks in Pakistan: What religion are fundamentalists following?

By Sadhan Mukherjee*
Another report of a terrorist attack in Pakistan has come today (February 21). At least six people including a lawyer were killed and more than 20 injured at a sessions court in Charsadda near Islamabad by suicide bombings.
Terror is not to be identified with any particular religion and terrorists do not believe in any religion as their acts violate all religious norms and tenets. When terrorists claiming allegiance to one religion kill people belonging to the same religion, what religion do they follow? No religion teaches killing and terrorism. The recent Islamic terror acts are in the focus of world’s peaceloving peoples and the terrorist acts in Pakistan are inexplicable.
Derived from the Arabic root "Salema", Islam means peace, purity, submission and obedience. In the religious sense, Islam means submission to the will of God and obedience to His law. It believes in one God.
We have seen school children wantonly murdered in Pakistan. On December 16, 2014, seven gunmen affiliated with the Tehrik-i-Taliban (TTP) conducted a terrorist attack on the Army Public School in Peshawar. 
On February 13, a bomb was set off in Lahore in a rally of Pharmacists protesting against the drug law and 10 people were killed. On February 16 came the news of a suicide bombing by a female IS terrorist in the most revered Sufi shrine of Lal Shahbaz Qalandar at Sehwan Sharif killing 80 Sufis and injuring 150.
The IS, like other fundamentalist Muslims, depends on terror and fear to assert their authority, and they want the return of Caliphate, not parliamentary democracy. These Islamic fundamentalists consider the Sufis unIslamic as the philosophy of tolerance and love which Sufism seeks to spread among all are supposed to be contradictory to the orthodox Islamic teachings.
Wellknown historian and author William Dalrymple attributes this fanaticism to the utter failure of the Pakistani state to provide proper education to its people, especially the younger ones. This sphere was taken over by Saudi Arabia which provided huge amounts to set up a large number of Madrasas in Pakistan.
 These madrasas are not only places of orthodox teaching but also a potent instrument to spread an “imported form of Saudi Salafism”, as Dalrymple points out in an excellent article "The Sufi Must Sing" (Indian Express, February 21, .2017).
Who are the Salafis? Google describes them as: Salafis are fundamentalists who believe in a return to the original ways of Islam. The word 'Salafi' comes from the Arabic phrase, 'as-salaf as-saliheen', which refers to the first three generations of Muslims (starting with the Companions of the Prophet), otherwise known as the Pious Predecessors.
Also, the Salafi movement or Salafist movement or Salafism is an ultra-conservative reform branch or movement within Sunni Islam that developed in Arabia in the first half of the 18th century against a background of European colonialism. It advocated a return to the traditions of the "devout ancestors" (the salaf). Salafist violence has now spread to many countries and its fundamentalism asserts itself by using violence.
Most Muslims are Sunnis, the dominant branch of Islam. There are Shias, Sufis, and Wahhabis which constitute other major branches. There are some other groups like the Baha’is and Ahmadiyyas.
The Islamic fundamentalists like Salafis consider that Sufi songs and the Dhammal dance, the worship of shrines of dead personalities are unIslamic. The Dhammal dance, they feel, is a Shaivaite form which is part of Hinduism. 
They do not believe that the dance is a way to merge individuals with the divine. The Sufi poetry, its music and its other formats are not commensurate with Islam, they claim and hence deemed to be unIslamic.
The worship of shrines, the love songs, the dance form in Sufism are an anathema to Islamic fundamentalists as these are supposed to contradict the One God concept in Islam. But this is only an excuse for terrorist acts; the terrorists do not believe in any religion, profess as they might the contours of fundamentalism of any religious school.

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