|This group is
more common in traditional Islamic regions like Africa and the Near East, though it
appears predominant everywhere, even in India, and has often supplanted the more liberal
Sufis. It relates primarily to the Sunni branch of Islam, which is the majority Islamic
sect everywhere except Iran, including India, Central Asia and Indonesia.
In the West these two lines of Sufis may criticize each other. Liberal Sufis, who may use
teachings from all regions, regard the orthodox Sufis as narrow minded. Orthodox Sufis may
style themselves "Islamic Sufis" to distinguish themselves from liberal Sufis,
whom they regard as unorthodox and impure for mixing other religions with Islam in their
Sufism. Such Islamic Sufis see themselves as the spiritual power behind Islam and are
promoting the Islamization of the world.
is not always possible to distinguish between these two groups of Sufis, who may be mixed
together in various ways. Sometimes orthodox Sufis
appear as liberal Sufis in non-Islamic countries, promoting harmony and communication
between spiritual traditions, which allows them to gain a foothold. Once established they
reveal their more orthodox nature by their support of the Sharia, burka (veiling of
women), and their attempt to convert people to Islam. Some Sufi groups coming into the
West today have employed this strategy.