But while Sufism is no doubt fascinating in its diversity and complexity, can it really bend terrorist swords into plowshares? The question is most urgent in South Asia, home to more than a third of the world's Muslims and the historic cradle of Sufi Islam. Shrines of Sufi saints are ubiquitous in India and Pakistan and still attract thousands of devotees from all sectors of society. Yet the Taliban in Pakistan have set about destroying such sites, which are anathema to their literalist interpretation of the Koran. "Despite our ancient religious tradition," says Ayeda Naqvi, a writer and Sufi scholar from Lahore, "we are being bullied and intimidated by a new form of religion that is barely one generation old."
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