al-Monitor Middle East Published Articles

Is Sufism the Answer to Extremism in Egypt?

Egypt Sufism Extremism
(Peter Crawford)

This article was first published at al-Monitor.

If the Egyptian government wants to combat the spread of radical religious ideology, it would do well to return to its Muslim roots. At a conference held at the headquarters of the Azamiyah Order in Cairo on April 21, which Al-Monitor attended, presenters argued that Sufi Islam is the authentic expression of Egypt’s Muslims.

The conference emphasized the brotherly bond between Muslims and Christians, following the Palm Sunday bombings on April 9. But Sufis are singled out as infidels by the Islamic State (IS), too.

“I have told President [Abdel Fattah] al-Sisi to take care of the Sufi leaders,” Sheikh Alaa Abu al-Azayem told Al-Monitor. “We are the ones who stand against terrorism, fighting not with weapons but ideas.”

Sufism is widely considered the default setting for Egypt’s Muslim community, and tombs of popular Sufi saints dot the landscape up and down the Nile…

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Friday Prayers for Egypt: Sadat, Mubarak, and Sinai

Flag Cross Quran


One is expelled from parliament, for alleged wrongs.

One is released from confinement, alleged wrongs dismissed.

Hundreds are displaced from home, for no alleged wrong but existence.

God, intervene.

If Sadat is a criminal may he have his day in court. If he is simply silenced direct his voice.

If Mubarak is a criminal give justice to the protestors. If he is rightly judged restore his reputation.

If Copts flee crime in Sinai preserve all left behind. If they are vilely treated vindicate their faith.

God, contest.

Defend the weak and innocent. Promote the pure in heart. Discern the truth from falsehood. Dismiss the chaff from wheat.

In politics, justice, and civility guide.

Give her good men to govern.

Give her wise counsel to rule.

Give her your peace to compose.

High and mighty, poor and lowly – humble, strengthen.

Where there is allegation, prove. Where there is wrong, right.

Where there is existence, bless. For Egypt and all Egyptians.