Shops and government offices were closed in the large Muslim town of Kattankudy, 5 kilometres south of Batticaloa, Tuesday as a protest by orthodox Muslims against an Islamic sect that preaches pantheism. A large group of orthordox Muslims marched through the town chanting slogans against Rauf Mowlavi, the head of the pantheistic sect, and his followers. Followers of Rauf Mowlavi and the orthordox Muslims have clashed in the town on several occasions for more than thirty years.
Rauf Mowlavi’s brand of Islam claims that Allah is immanent in the world. Therefore Muslims can worship him in anything,according to the preaching of Rauf Mowlavi. He claims that his teachings are based on a correct interpretation of the Quaran.
Influential sections of Muslim society in Kattankudy adhere to teachings.
Orthodox Muslims who protested Tuesday want government officials to curb the public activities of Rauf Mowlavi’s sect.