Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Here’s one other aspect of this ridiculous controversy over the Islamic center in Manhattan that I’ve mentioned once but deserves broader recognition: The man behind this project is a Sufi, which is considered a heresy by the Islamic radicals in Al Qaeda. Fareed Zakaria pointed this out on his show recently.

Last month, Islamic radicals in Pakistan blew up a Sufi shrine in Pakistan, the latest in a long line of attacks on Sufi sites around the world. Sufis are as much an enemy of Al Qaeda as America is.

Why would al Qaeda attack a holy place at a time of prayer? Because it is a Sufi shrine, part of a sect that al Qaeda despises and regards as a deadly foe in the real battle it is fighting, the battle within Islam.

The Sufis are a sect of Islam originating in South Asia. They’re all about mysticism, love, brotherhood and devotion, with very little attention to dogma. They believe in saints, shrines, music, dance, and follow a very liberal interpretation of the Koran.

Sufi poets routinely extol the virtues of wine and song, both forbidden in the purer versions of Islam. Sufism has always believed in tolerance towards other people and religion, and in peace. You can see why al Qaeda views it as its mortal enemy. The more Muslims accept some version of Sufi Islam, the more dangerous for al Qaeda and its extreme jihadist philosophy.