themselves under attack in many parts of the Islamic world. In the past, a majority of these onslaughts were organized by the various imperial powers as they at- tempted to retain control of a particular territory. Yet increasingly, these assaults have been orchestrated by other Muslim groups.
This ongoing contemporary wave of violence was originally triggered by the Muslim Brotherhood, which emerged in Egypt in the late 1920s before spreading to other parts of the Middle East and Africa. In particu- lar, the salafist tradition it has helped establish and sus- tain continues to provide the impetus and justification for many of the attacks mounted against Sufism today. This tradition, with its call for Muslims to think and act like their earliest forbears (salafs), is highly critical of Sufi beliefs and practices which, it argues, verge on the heretical.5 Since then, salafism has spread throughout Muslim communities the world over. Perhaps even more worrying for Sufis, it has helped give rise and succour to some of the most reactionary and violent factions in the Islamic world today.
Sufis, therefore, including those in Nigeria, find themselves confronted by Islamic radicals. And they are not alone, for many of these groups, again in ac- cordance with their salafist beliefs, are also hostile to Western governments and publics. In fact, this threat confronts both Sufis and North American and Euro- pean countries alike. By extension, containing and countering it is a goal they all share. For their part, the Qadiriyya and Tijaniyya continue to finance and run a range of religious and social programs that have the effect of preventing men, women, and children from turning to these radical factions. To begin, such pro- grams are alternatives to those offered by groups and organizations promoting salafist views and agendas.