Islam in Pakistan: Ultra-Conservative Vs. Moderate Muslims

NPR recently shared the story of moderate Pakistani Muslims known as Barelvis who feel they are under attack from more hardline Deobandis Muslims. The Barelvis follow a form of Islam that incorporates folk traditions and mystical Sufi traditions, including praying to saints. The ultra-conservative Deobandis see such incorporation as un-Islamic.

Read or listen to the full story here.

NPR spoke to sociologist Mushtaq Gadi who noted that “Pakistan’s authorities lean towards the more clear-cut doctrine of Deobandi Islam in order to reinforce Pakistan’s national identity.” “The creation of Pakistan was on the basis of religion,” says Gadi. “So if the state doesn’t patronize puritan, fundamentalist kind of approaches to Islam, the existence of Pakistan, purely on the basis of religion, may be challenged. That is their fear.”

Retired general Talat Masood does not like the direction the country is taking. “It is becoming extremely difficult to swallow this change. Because my concept of Pakistan was so different to what, the way it is drifting, towards such extreme conservatism. And also giving a very poor image of Islam to the rest of the world.”

Pray for the 444 unreached people groups of Pakistan with over 177 million people (SOURCE: Joshua Project).

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