The shrine and grave of Sufi poet Rahman Baba, located outside the northwestern Pakistan city of Peshawar, were bombed on Thursday, and according to local authorities, members of the Taliban are suspected of the attack. The early morning blast left the poet's marble mausoleum badly damaged, but resulted in no injuries or casualties.
Rahman Baba, who wrote in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, is one of the most widely read poets in Pashto-speaking regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan, known for his message of tolerance and "passion for God in a Sufi way," the BBC News reported. His shrine received thousands of visitors, according to the Hindu newspaper, many of whom would gather at the site to sing his poetry.
According to a BBC News report, the Taliban had warned that they would destroy the poet's shrine if women continued to visit it, as Taliban leaders have stated that women's presence there promoted obscenity. The extremist group, whose beliefs run counter to the Islamic mysticism of Sufism, generally view the act of paying homage at shrines as heretical, Reuters reported, and the Taliban has in the past attempted to prevent visitors from accessing memorials to revered Sufi figures.