Oct. 18, 2019
Sufi Leader’s Visit to Israel Seen as “Quiet Normalization” – Michael Barak
Sheikh Mehmet Adil al-Haqqani, the spiritual leader of the 60-million-member Haqqanniya-Naqshbandiyya Sufi order, paid a historic first visit to Israel and the PA on Sep. 21-23. Currently residing in Istanbul, Al-Haqqani visited Israel accompanied by more than 100 of his followers.
The Hamas leadership is hostile toward the ten Sufi orders in Gaza and has been narrowing their activity. The strict policy against the Sufis was articulated in closing Sufi houses, prohibiting their rituals, imputing them in deviating from Islam, and defining them as a threat to Palestinian society.
Al-Haqqani’s visit is important to Israel as he disregarded calls by Islamist movements, such as the northern faction of the Islamic Movement in Israel, for Muslims around the world not to visit Israel for fear of contributing to normalization with it. Salafi factions have already defined the visit as “quiet normalization.” Indeed, the visit has given legitimization for millions of Sufis to come and visit Israel.
The writer is a senior researcher at the International Institute for Counter-Terrorism and a lecturer at the Lauder School of Government, Diplomacy & Strategy at IDC, Herzliya. (Jerusalem Post)