Islamists bombs Sufi mosque in Egypt

Islamist terrorists killed more than 235 and wounded 109 people worshiping at a Sufi mosque in the Sinai. The attackers used a combination of bombs and guns, even shooting at ambulances. What did the Sufis do? Nothing—except belong to a mystical sect of Islam regarded by some Muslims as “heretical.”

I’m guessing, though this hasn’t been confirmed, that ISIS is responsible. Sunnis kill Sufis, and Sunnis and Shiites kill each other, yet they’re nominally of the same faith.  How many thousands have died, how many more thousands will die, because of differences in doctrine—doctrines based on delusions? Remember that the Sunni/Shia schism goes back to disputes about who was Muhammad’s rightful successor.

You’ve probably already heard this, but the world of pain associated with such attacks is overwhelming. Best wishes to the brave souls trying to tame Islamism.

 

48 Comments

  1. Heather Hastie
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    As everyone here knows, the attackers believe they’re doing the right thing and Allah will reward them in the afterlife. They’re taught that from childhood. How can we makes things better when the indoctrination starts so early, and the people doing it sincerely believe they’re doing the right thing?

    It’s overwhelming when something like this attack happens. To us it’s obvious that what they believe is wrong, but they can’t see it and are just as convinced we’re the ones who are wrong and should be killed too.

    • Craw
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Yup. That’s why it’s important to crush them, and humiliate them. We cannot win their hearts and minds, but we can help the moderate forces in Islam win those of others.

      • somer
        Posted November 24, 2017 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

        Its hard to avoid political connections in the region but the ME is a nest of snakes politically. And we should be supporting atheists in the ME where we can and certainly in the west. The era of Arab Nationalism is over and any secularish leaders are still far from democratic. Kyle Orton is a fascinating read on this. But ex Muslims and ME atheists especially so. Like Secular Jihadist program, or Yasmine Mohammed, J.A. Miraj, Hashim Almadani, Aisha Murtad etc.

        Genuinely moderate muslims just don’t know much about their religion or don’t follow it very clearly.

        Sadly though the west has been busily supporting the Muslim Brotherhood as “moderate forces” in Egypt and the ME and their equivalent in Libya when they are actually little better than the Salafists. Successive US govts and western govts generally have pandered to them as well as the Saudis, thinking the former are “Moderate”. But then there aren’t really any moderate people to deal with at the political level – one thing tho we have managed to flood the region with arms and the Saudis now look ever more willing to take military action against the spread of Iranian influence in the region.

        The MB know how to obsfuscate the nature of Islam and/or play western guilt and appear interested in social justice for the people. But the only reason they and the Saudis hate each other is they want a Caliphate, and rulers who have no truck with any secular power which is why they urge rejection of Saudi rulers along with the more secular leaders in other parts of the ME.

        • Craw
          Posted November 24, 2017 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

          There is a civil war in Islam between modernizes and fundamentalists. Our real job is to make sure the back to basics crowd, ISIS being the most well known, don’t score easy victories, especially over us. They gain prestige if they can humble us, and they lose prestige if the reverse happens. We cannot ignore ISIS, so we must pulverize it.

          • somer
            Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:07 am | Permalink

            From what I can gather there are so many interested sub sects that play others off with the help of bigger powers like Iran and Russia or the Saudis supporting most extremists other than the Muslim Brotherhood. Even the Kurds, overall the most effective anti ISIS fighters, have picked on the Christians and Yazidis on the Ninevah plain and want large homelands across multiple countries, whilst the Iraqui army has done way more anti ISIS fighting in places like Mosul than they are credited for.

            Definitely I agree we should support those directly attacking ISIS (e.g. arm the kurds) but there are so many bad forces mixed up in the religio-tribal melee and so many groups willing to bring in bigger states its a nightmare. We don’t want to get involved on the ground because all attack us and it winds up further destabilising the area. We should push very hard for alternatives to oil.

            Until we are secure at home against aggressive groups and nations we can’t offer a better life for any oppressed. A minimal level of economic and politico military security and stability and prosperity at home is essential to offer those things or act as an example to others.
            Personally I am a bit gutted we can’t just realise Islam is that much more conservative than other abrahamic religions overall and send a consistent message that Islamic violence (which is mostly amongst Muslims) is far and away mainly a problem with Islam and not the west – that Muslims can’t cry to us about their problems and fight and blame us at the same time. I also think its critical to be blunt about the problems of Islam in the west – particularly outside the US which is relatively unaffected by this and make clear that we are NOT going to put up with being de-liberalised in the longer term due to ever growing and ever more aggressively demanding Islam in Europe. I really don’t believe Sweden will be a liberal country any more in 25+ years at this rate and there is no sign of change in Europe or anywhere else. At its core Islam (Like traditionalist forms of Christianity or for that matter imperialist authoritarian nationalist states like USSR and Nazi Germany) is about competitively increasing the numbers of its people biologically or ideologically (though ultimately the two combine) at the expense of others.

            • Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:12 am | Permalink

              One imagines, if this was ISIS, that the “success” of this atrocity sends a message to the followers of two organizations. That ISIS is here to recruit, and members of the MB in delta Egypt and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, both neighbouring areas, can join up with ISIS, since both organizations have been pushed back in the last few years and are perforce going through a quietist phase.

              If any Islamist in the region wants to join a successful jihadist group, ISIS may just have planted a big flag in the Sinai region, a terrain suited to the expertise of some in ISIS who are perfectly at home melting into the desert wilderness.

            • nicky
              Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

              “We should push very hard for alternatives to oil.” Yes, yes and yes.
              The ‘West’ has the capability to go completely solar within a few years. If there had been enough political will, it could already have been done.
              “I really don’t believe Sweden will be a liberal country any more in 25+ years at this rate and there is no sign of change in Europe or anywhere else.” I think that Sweden as a ‘liberal country’, particularly in the sense that women can walk around with the reasonable expectation not to be molested or raped, is already a thing of the past. Your ’25+ years’ expectation is approximately a quarter century off.

  2. Posted November 24, 2017 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    It has nothing to do with religion. It is a result of colonial oppression. /sarcasm

    • Dave
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:01 am | Permalink

      Yes, that Ptolemaic dynasty has a lot to answer for!

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    I understand the Saudis and Iran are closer to actual war now than ever. Do not know if this has a thing to do with it. Anyway, Saudi is undergoing a Spring of their own.

  4. Posted November 24, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    I am so dismayed. The Sufis are a tolerant, almost Buddhist, sect of Islam. Everything the fanatics hate.

  5. W.Benson
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 7:08 pm | Permalink

    Bad things happen when Saudi Arabia is your next door neighbor.

  6. claudia baker
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    “Religion poisons everything”

  7. Posted November 24, 2017 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Ok. Parents tell their kids that someone who does not believe EXACTLY what they (their children) have learned, is a bad person, who MUST be killed. Our Supreme Being says so. As a toddler and as a child, you hear that but you do not make much out of it because you are unable to kill with your bare hands. As a growing young man or woman however – or any of the many more genders invented lately – your parents and/or other educators give you a firearm and teach you how you now will be perfectly able to kill infidels.

    At such a moment, does not one of the pupils realize what a horrible thing he has in his hands, and how terrible it must be to die in cold blood, shot by a bullet? Isn’t there something inside him that rebels against the thought of ending someone’s life, like killing an annoying fly?

    I would call this brainforming; it seems to me to be worse than brainwashing. Neurons have formed pernicious circuits which appear to be unchangeable.
    Almost unchangable, perhaps? I hope so but I’m afraid this is wishful thinking.
    .-

    • Voltaire
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

      “Brainforming” sounds right. I’ll use it.

    • nicky
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Not unchangable, there are many ex-Muslims, and there are Muslims that have sworn off the fundamentalism, such as Nawaz Maajid. So there is a, admittedly faint, hope.
      As Somer pointed out, our first step in this battle for minds is getting rid of oil.

  8. Frank Bath
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Perhaps the muslims need their own ‘Thirty Years War, knock the shit out of each other, and weary with killing bury their deeply held doctrine of righteous murder. I hope not, but with Iran and Saudi making mutual threats it could come to this.

    • Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:10 am | Permalink

      Haven’t they had more than thirty years of it by now? Although maybe not in a sustained, full-on hot war.

    • nicky
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Yes, that ocurred to me too. However, it was much longer than 30 years. Not only had the protestant Low Countries an 80 year war with their Catholic Spanish overlords, but the Enlightenment took quite a while to spread widely, in fact, I guess it is still doing that. And then it took Science in general -and Evolutionary Theory in particular- to deliver a ‘(close to)death’ blow to religion. (If I’m not mistaken our host wrote a book shining some light on this particular subject) 🙂

  9. Filippo
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

    Anyone happen to know if ISIS has similarly gone after a Sunni Mosque? Or the mosques of other Islamic “denominations”? Does ISIS give itself a “denominational” name? What non-ISIS Islamic entity does ISIS not attack?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

      I’ll tackle your question Filippo, but you must ingest heavy mind-bending substances for my reply to make sense 🙂

      Most Sufis are Sunni, though some are Shiite. Sufism isn’t a separate sect of Islam, it’s an attitude/approach/outlook that’s best described as Islamic mysticism

      George Harrison would have approved

      Any member of any Islamic sect can adopt sufism in principle. But, many Muslims think Sufism is a belief in multiple gods & other crimes against Allah. Thus it’s possible for non-Sufi Sunni killers to mow down Sufi Sunnis without remorse.

      I believe ISIS is solely of the Sunni sect, but at the moment I guess they’d sign up anybody – even Roman Catholics on a bad recruitment day in Raqqa

  10. JohnnieCanuck
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Any Christians who take some satisfaction from Muslim on Muslim violence need to be reminded of all the Catholic vs Protestant violence that has been recorded throughout history. Even Muslim vs Christian is still Abrahamic vs Abrahamic conflict.

    Internecine persecution by Christian sects is one reason the US ended up with its Constitution and Federal government the way it is. Each of the Colonies was worried that the sects in the other Colonies might be able to band together and force their religion on them.

    I don’t recall ever learning about it, but it wouldn’t surprise me to find that there was Catholic vs Catholic violence back in the day when the Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholics went their own way.

    It’s a kind of poison.

    • Posted November 24, 2017 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      There was of course .. Calvinists vs Catholics, etc etc .. however, they didn’t have access to modern armaments – imagine what it would have been like if they had! Speaking as God – hey, I’ve got enough trouble in Ursa Major without worrying about you little fizzers1

    • Craw
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

      There was indeed, and before. There has been a history of internecine violence whenever there has been a major, or sometimes minor, split in Christianity. One good book is The Jesus Wars, by Jenkins on a particularly important case.

      The schism you reference is the Great Schism, of 1054 (there are two Great Schisms) and there was sporadic violence. (The real fighting was with the Muslims).

  11. Michael Fisher
    Posted November 24, 2017 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    A lot of fake images & videos doing the rounds on this massacre. A LOT more than the usual % of fakes – imagery from previous, similar attacks being used. No idea why.

    Digital news & digital social media [yahoo! news, twitter, facebook, google etc] can’t carry on just being a ‘carrier’ with little responsibility for the lies they blithely carry & yet skim ad revenue from.

    Somehow we must set up some accreditation [by whom though?] system because open-to-all citizen reporting has become tragically dishonest.

    Shit really.

  12. Posted November 24, 2017 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    During the religion wars between Protestant Christians and Catholic Christians estimates are as high as one quarter of the population of Europe was killed.

    These wars were on the minds of the Founding Fathers when they were trying to create the U.S.A.

    Being of the same religion is irrelevant when people are focused on differences rather than similarities.

    • GBJames
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

      Define “same”.

      • Craw
        Posted November 24, 2017 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

        “False”.

    • mikeyc
      Posted November 24, 2017 at 10:21 pm | Permalink

      One quarter of the population of Europe? All of Europe or only some of it? What wars would they be?

      • Craw
        Posted November 24, 2017 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

        30 years war. Ended 1648, fought mostly in Central Europe ie Germany, Austria, Poland region.

        • colnago80
          Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:14 am | Permalink

          It is most fortunate that the likes of Gustavus, Tilly, and Wallenstein did not have access to 20th century weapons or central Europe would have been completely depopulated.

        • mikeyc
          Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

          Holy cow. I knew of the war, vaguely, but had no idea of how nasty it was. The British were said to have lost a majority of a generation of men in WWI; I’ve always thought that mechanized war was horrific enough. I can’t imagine the brutality and viciousness that could account for those casualty rates in an era of limited firepower. Most of those killed by combat would have died at another’s hand. By the millions, if what I just read about the war is accurate.

  13. Karin Lindhagen
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:44 am | Permalink

    Do Americans not know about the armed conflict between catholics and protestants in Northern Ireland? It is barely twenty years since the peace treaty was signed.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:59 am | Permalink

      3,500 dead over about 30 years. Quite a lot for such a small territory.

  14. Posted November 25, 2017 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Religion poisons everything.

    • Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      A rather silly statement. Religion is an invention of man, it can have adaptive or non-adaptive effects, it always depends entirely on the circumstances.

    • Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      If religion would poison everything, humanity, which was over 99.9 percent of its history a religious one, would hardly have been able to spread so successfully across the globe.

      • GBJames
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Religion is not what spread humanity across the globe. Technology did that (clothing, tools, etc.)

        • Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

          Technology has driven the birth and expansion of humanity, but humans can not exist without narratives. For most of the time, religions have provided narratives that are very helpful in reducing complexity. In addition to technology, there is a social life that is determined by beliefs and thoughts that are mostly irrational. It’s easier to understand the outside world than ourselves. The consciousness of man is one of the unsolved problems.

          • GBJames
            Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

            You use the word “narrative” as a talisman.

            Religious narratives are the product of humanity’s infancy. They are childish stories devoid of explanatory value. Religion has been a feature of human social life throughout our past but that does not make a necessity. Religious “narratives” are fictions and should be recognized as artifacts of ignorance. Study them as myths, because that is what they are.

            Smallpox and bubonic plague have also played central roles in human history. I trust you don’t think we should nurture them along with your treasured “narratives”.

            • Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

              You argue from the point of view of well educated people living in the scientifically dominated age. You forget that for most of their history people have had no access to the science. The reasons why plague and cholera have wiped out entire populations, why natural disasters happen, have only gotten better understood in the last 200 years. But if you lived 500 years ago or in the time of Jesus or the Stone Age, people had no chance to understand what the true causes of disasters, wars, diseases, crop failures, etc. were. But people need explanations – that’s what the term narrative stands for, and religions provide such explanations. Among other things, that made them so successful.
               
              To say that these explanations of religion are fundamentally worthless is simply arrogant and ignorant, and you do not seem to understand that to live in societies as privileged as ours is a fundamentally different thing than growing up in societies, which don’t provide any education and in which everybody has to struggle day for day to survive.
              That there is a strong connection between religiousness and poverty, you have never heard of it?

              • GBJames
                Posted November 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

                “You forget that for most of their history people have had no access to the science.”

                I do? What part of “Religion has been a feature of human social life throughout our past…” do you find forgetful?

                Breaking News…. We don’t live 500 years ago. If it is arrogant to recognize that education is better than ignorance, well… call me arrogant, I suppose. But I’ll point out that you’re simply dressing up willful ignorance in something you think is respectable.

                Religion encourages ignorance. One of the many poisons it exudes. We don’t need it. We need education.

                I find the “little people” argument you’re offering to be demeaning of those you presume to shelter.

              • Posted November 25, 2017 at 3:51 pm | Permalink

                “We don’t need it. ” Interesting, so you are able to speak for the entire mankind? If you do not need religion, okay, but to believe that’s why all the other billions of people could see it that way, such an attitude is a form of ignorance to me.

                ” If it is arrogant to recognize that education is better than ignorance, well… call me arrogant”

                Please show me the passage in which I said that education is worth less than ignorance,( but you will not find it.)
                You are constantly mixing the ideal with the real. Of course, it would be best if all children, all people, could grow up in these ideal First World conditions of education.
                But in reality it looks very different; Millions grow up in slums, in the countryside without access to education that resembles in any way ours. They have parents from whom they have inherited their religions.
                People who have not been educated in many cases prefer to be bound by faith rather than having to live without faith, since the former is easier for them than the latter. And who blames them for that choice, like you, who does not seem to understand that religion is a straw to many, shows me a rather arrogant attitude when he says things like this: “We do not need religion.” What is right for you is not right for everyone.

              • GBJames
                Posted November 26, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

                Oh, FFS.

                “…you are able to speak for the entire mankind?”

                No more than you when you say humans require religious narratives.

                I’m sorry, but the logic of your argument is simply wrong. Millions of people live in slums. And this means religion is a necessity. How, exactly, does that follow?

                “What is right for you is not right for everyone.”

                This is postmodern nonsense. If something is right, it is right. We may have different opinions about what is right but at least one of us is, quite simply, wrong.

                Please stop demeaning poor people. They may or may not be ignorant. But poverty does not require ignorance.

                Which particular religious “narrative” is required by humanity? Are all “narratives” required? Can we do without any of them? Are there other kinds of falsehoods we should be nurturing?

  15. Bob
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    May I suggest that Europe also suffered civil warfare based on religion? The only difference I see is that today killing and maiming are easier because of the great leaps forward in weaponry. However, The Thirty Years War was horrible even by today’s standards.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_wars_of_religion

  16. Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    For ISIS, the followers of Sufism are unbelievers.
    About 15 to 20 percent of Muslims in Egypt are believed to belong to Sufism.

  17. Posted November 25, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    The more widespread a religion is and the greater the number of its followers, the greater the danger that the uniting factor of a common identity, which is one of the cultural benefits that religions offer to their believers, will be lost and sectarianism will emerge. There is an outbreak of intra-community conflicts. This can be observed in almost all major monistic religions.


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