Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari, a leader of the Sufi faith and head of the Uzbeke Community in Jerusalem, passed away last week. A leading Muslim voice for peace and reconciliation, Sheikh Bukari spoke on the panel “Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding: The Case of Israel-West Bank-Gaza” at the 2009 Parliament.
At The Jerusalem Post, Lauren Gelfond Feldinger writes:
In a small and ancient family plot attached to his ancestral home in Jerusalem’s Old City, regional Sufi leader Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari was laid to rest on Tuesday at age 61, after a long struggle with heart disease. He was head of the mystical Naqshabandi Holy Land Sufi Order. A longtime proponent of nonviolence and interfaith unity, Bukhari found his inspiration in Islamic law and tradition, as well as in the writings of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela. “The stronger one is the one who can absorb the violence and anger from the other and change it to love and understanding. It is not easy; it is a lot of work. But this is the real jihad,” he once told the Globaloneness Project in an interview. His teachings and practices put him in danger and under great stress that over the years harmed his health, said Sheikh Ghassan Manasra of Nazareth, whose father heads the regional Holy Land Qadari Sufi Order. “Sheikh Bukhari influenced lots of people, worked hard to bridge the religions and cultures; and his teaching is keeping part of the youth on the right path. We worked together for many years and succeeded many times and failed many times and decided to stay on the [path] of God to bring peace, tolerance, harmony and moderation,” he said. “But on both sides, Jewish and Muslim, there are moderates but also extreme people, and our work was very dangerous, with a lot of pressure and stress until now, and I think this explains, in part, his heart problems.” Dozens of family members and close friends, including Jews, Christians and Muslims, and the Uzbek ambassador to Israel, prayed together at the funeral on Tuesday, as Bukhari, in a white shroud, was lowered into the same grave as his grandfather, great-grandfather and the line of family sheikhs dating to the 17th century. Numerous rabbis, Muslim and Druse sheikhs, Christian clerics and friends of all faiths from around the country are expected to pay respects at the mourning tents, which will receive visitors for three days.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bukhari passed away June 3 at age 61.
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