RELIGIOUS EDUCATION AND EXTREMISM IN PAKISTAN: FROM DEOBANDI MILITANCY TO A RISING SUFI FANATICISM
Aim. The aim of this research article is to verify waves of fanaticism among the
followers of the Barelvi sect, a branch of Sufi Islam along with continuation of violent
extremist activities by the followers of the Deobandi brand of the Muslim religion in
Pakistan. It has been evidenced that Pakistan’s society has been badly infl uenced by
religious extremism since the 1980s (Gul, 2012). Fitzgerald (2011) termed the religion as
a force of nature which is absolutely appropriate for the case of religious extremism in
Pakistan. The religious extremism in Pakistan can be examined through the concept of
social constructivism which emphasizes characterisation of human identity, values and
norms in the society (Sajjad, 2015).
Method. The qualitative method of research was employed to analyse circumstances
related to growing Sufi ’s fanaticism in Pakistan. The data was collected from different
sources including books, scientifi c journals, research articles, newspapers and websites.
Results. By using various valuable references, it has been verifi ed that support of the
state in the 1980s caused growth of Deobandi extremism, as well as support by the state in
order to counter some of the Deobandi fanatic groups in the 1990s and 2000s led to occurrence
of Barelvi fanaticism in the country.
Conclusion. The study confi rms that Pakistan, which was already witness of Deobandi
militancy, is facing the more challenging fanaticism of Barelvis, having strong tendencies toward radicalization and extremism on the religious issues like blasphemy.
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