Islamic extremists have one thing in common with many American media outlets: they don’t understand what Sufism is. Often referred to as “liberal Islam,” even major reputable news sources attempt to boil down an integral part of Islamic tradition into a single, ambiguous word. A growing number of Islamic extremists accuse Sufis of idol worship, or shirk, and have recently taken to violence, destroying Sufi shrines and killing Sufi worshipers in the name of purifying Islam. These extremists understand neither Sufism nor Islamic law justifying the killing of humans, and are part of an increasingly large group of both non-Muslims and Muslims that characterize Sufism in a way that benefits them.
The Arab Spring surprised many in the West who believed Islam is inherently incompatible with democracy. But the citizens of Tunisia, Egypt and Libya proved them wrong. Reza Aslan and Marc Lynch join us for this last program in our Inside Islam series.
These digital stories were produced by Fatima Sartbaeva, a CREECA student assistant and native of Kyrgyzstan. Fatima holds a master?s degree in gender studies from Central European University in Budapest and was the associate producer and on-screen translator of the 2004 documentary film Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan. Fatima plans to pursue doctoral work in cultural anthropology.