In an article in The New York Times, Huma Imtiaz and Charlotte Cuchen describe the heated-up war against Sufism, the mystical expression of Islam, in Pakistan. Sufism is popular in that country, attracting millions to festivals through the year and thousands for daily visits to shrines dedicated to Sufi saints. Hard-line Islamic militants are targeting the shrines, taking responsibility for five shrine attacks in 2010 that killed 64 worshippers.

Despite the dangers, the people continue to visit the shrines. In a video accompanying the article, a popular devotional singer joins the crowds of singing and dancing Sufis at a shrine in Lahore, and then learns later of a deadly attack on a shrine in Karachi. 


And so we pray this news:

We are all in a circle.
Our dreams and prayers are at their core.
The same dreams and prayers
Our circle will lead out into the world,
And spread harmony over all the earth.
To remind us of this circle,
We envision one knot.
This knot will bind us together
In higher circles,
Each of us responsible for
One other person's prayer,
Responsible for other persons' prayers,
And the prayer that our circle represents.
We offer our knots up to the Great Spirit.
We are now separate,
And we are now joined.
May our prayers be as one.
May our unique spirits thrive
Independently and together. Ho!
— Lynn Andrews, quoted in
God Has No Religion edited by Frances Sheridan Goulart

Holy One,
we stand in the circle,
and send out our love
and compassion to our
Sufi brothers and sisters
in Pakistan who have lost
loved ones in the attacks
on holy shrines.
We stand in the circle
together in our surrender
to the Beloved.
We stand in the circle
together in our devotion
expressed in prayers
of song and dance.
We stand in the circle
together as we lament
the violence
perpetrated upon innocents
while at worship.
And we stand in the circle
together with the hope
and the courage
to expand the circle
of our love and compassion
to the Islamic militants
whose hearts have been
so hardened by hate.
We stand in the circle
together and pray
for peace and love
to reign in the hearts
of all God's children.
So be it.
— Frederic Brussat





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