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July 09, 2009

A peaceful, tolerant and open-minded Islam

The government of Algeria has belatedly decided to promote Sufism, a reflective and largely apolitical version of Islam, as an alternative to the more robust Saudi Salafism now so familiar to Western travelers, office workers and first responders.

Officials believe Sufism could help bring peace to Algeria, a country still emerging from a conflict in the 1990s between government forces and Islamist rebels that, according to some estimates, killed 200,000 people.

"I disagree with the Salafi ideology because it doesn't take into consideration the particular nature of Algeria," said Mohamed Idir Mechnane, an official at the Ministry of Religious Affairs. "We are doing a lot to encourage people to come back to our traditional Islam: a peaceful, tolerant and open-minded Islam. And thanks to God, people are much more attracted by our message than by the Salafi message," he told Reuters.


Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 9, 2009 07:07 AM


I found your comment about "office workers... and first responders" to be hilarious, but not as hilarious as the quote from the article. "Algeria, a country still emerging from a conflict in the 1990s between government forces and Islamist rebels..."

This is also a country still emerging from colonialism and a violent terrorist war for liberation. But if it happened so long ago (30, 40 years) then it doesn't count, right? Maybe the fact that we've killed off history has something to do with our global screwing of the pooch.

On the other hand, I really like this idea. I've long thought that Sufism could be a way out, and that few things would benefit the world at large than a revival in Sufism. I think that practical mystical systems in general are a good thing, and Quakers should especially be able to dig on a return to Sufism.

Posted by: Andrew Dobbs [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 12, 2009 09:38 PM

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