Bangladesh Su­fis defy at­tacks to hold mass gath­er­ing

Pakistan Observer - - INTERNATIONAL -

DHAKA—Tens of thou­sands of Su­fis de­scended on the Bangladeshi cap­i­tal Fri­day in a de­fi­ant show of unity, fol­low­ing a spate of tar­geted killings of mem­bers of the Mus­lim mi­nor­ity by sus­pected Is­lamist mil­i­tants.

Braving a scorch­ing sun, the fol­low­ers of a top Sufi leader gath­ered in the streets near Dhaka´s main com­mer­cial district as speak­ers ex­horted tol­er­ance for other Mus­lims and mem­bers of dif­fer­ent faiths.

Su­fism is an off­shoot of main­stream Is­lam whose fol­low­ers are often de­nounced as “in­fi­dels” in Bangladesh for their mys­ti­cal tra­di­tions, in­clud­ing wor­ship­ping at shrines.

“If any­one does good work and has faith in the God, he´ll be blessed by Him. It does not mat­ter whether he´s a Mus­lim, Jew or a Chris­tian,” Mo­hi­ud­din Khan Faruqi, one of the speak­ers said.

Many fol­low­ers had trav­elled from re­mote parts of the coun­try to join the gath­er­ing, with po­lice say­ing about 30,000 peo­ple took part and or­gan­is­ers putting at­ten­dance at a cou­ple of hun­dred thou­sand.

Se­cu­rity was tight as po­lice vans pa­trolled the streets and or­gan­is­ers set up nearly a dozen check-posts to search peo­ple who en­tered the venue. Four­teen Su­fis have been mur­dered since De­cem­ber 2013 in re­li­giously mo­ti­vated at­tacks.—Agen­cies

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