Al-Rawda is around 20 kilometers way from West of Arish. The number of its citizens is around 2,000 families and most of them are from al-Sawarka tribe, particularly from the Jarirat clan which belongs to the Sufi Ahmadiyya order.
Extremists who roamed al-Rawda in their four-wheel drive carrying ISIS’ black flags following Friday’s deadly mosque attacks were heard chanting: “We will only leave monotheists in the area.”
Egyptian site Raseef22, quoted witnesses as saying that most of the victims were Sufis who belong to the Jarirat clan, in addition to others who happened to be praying at the mosque. This indicates that terrorist organizations have begun their actual war against Sufism in Sinai.
Some Sufis said ISIS had warned them in recent months not to hold celebrations near mosques and shrines but people ignored these warnings.
Friday’s attack is considered an official declaration of a sectarian war between the extremist organization and followers of the Sufi order.
Before this incident, in November 2016, Sheikh Suleiman Abu Heraz, a 98-year-old cleric from the Jarirat clan, was killed in front of his house in south of al-Arish.
ALSO READ: Egypt mosque attack: Is Sufism a new target for terrorists in Sinai?
A leader of Wilayat Sinai said in the group’s magazine Al-Naba that followers of the Jarirat method worship in shrines and read out statements that imply polytheism, such as seeking the Prophet’s help and requesting intercession.
The Jarirat method, which is named after its sheikh Eid Abu Jarir who belongs to Al-Sawarka tribe, is one of the oldest Sufi methods in Sinai. It began with building a Sufi schoool in the city of Al-Tor. It later established a school of Quran memorization and built 200 mosques in Sinai.
Sheikh Eid has many followers in Sinai and other districts but Al-Rawda is viewed as the headquarters of the Jarirat clan.
According to some estimates, those who follow the Sufi method in Sinai comprise around 60 percent of the residents. The most famous order is the Jarirat Ahmadiyya followed by the Alawiyyah and Shadhili orders.
Attacks began in 2011
Terrorist attacks against Sufi orders began in 2011 when explosions targeted shrines in the town of Sheikh Zuweid. Five other shrines were blown up in 2013 and 2016. Four of these shrines where in the town of Mazar, near Al-Rawda, and the fifth was in Maghareh, in central Sinai.
Many Sinai residents refuse to acknowledge the link between targeting the Sufis and their participation in tribal wars against the terrorist organization. Many noted that army forces did not resort to the Sufis or to other tribes for help but rather sought the help of Bedouins, against whom sentences in absentia have been issued.
Although the Sinai Tribal Union declared war on Wilayat Sinai and began to set barricades on some towns’ entrances to avenge for Al-Rawda’s victims, the Sufis do not care much about these developments in terms of confronting extremists.
How one Christian helped build one of Egypt’s first mosques in the SinaiThe Sinai was the first Egyptian region to be entered by Muslims as conquerors of the country, so it was not unusual for the peninsula to witness the ... Features
ISIS claims deadly attack near Egypt’s St. Catherine’s Monastery in SinaiGunmen attacked security forces near St. Catherine's Monastery in Egypt's south Sinai on Tuesday, killing at least one police officer and injuring ... Middle East
Clashes erupt between tribes and ISIS militants in SinaiThree people were injured in clashes between militants and local tribes in the Sinai peninsula in a fight that began when militants shot at a truck ... Middle East
ISIS video shows two men beheaded for ‘sorcery’ in Egypt's SinaiISIS’s branch in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula posted a video on Tuesday depicting the beheading of two men the militant Islamist group said it had ... Middle East