Western Sufism

Western Sufism

Monday, November 28, 2016

Sufism according to Google

Google's search database is, as always, interesting, and shows that the greatest interest in Sufism on the internet is at present found in the United States, Indonesia, and France. A second group of countries with a significant interest in Sufism is made up of India, Germany, Italy, the UK, and Russia. Then come (in descending order) Brazil, Spain, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Canada, Mexico, Israel, Sweden, Ukraine, Argentina, Kazakhstan, and Australia.

As ever, care must be exercised in interpreting these results. The country that actually comes out on top in search volume is Colombia, but this is because of Sufi, short for Sufinanciamiento, the Compañía Suramericana de Financiamiento (South American Finance Company), a member of the Bancolombia group. Also, it is probably not safe to conclude anything from the absence of other countries in the Islamic world, which may not show up for a variety of reasons.

It is also interesting to see what searches are associated with "Sufi." "Dervish" remains popular, as do whirling, Sufi music, and Sufi poetry. In France, people search a lot for Ibn Arabi, as they do in Morocco and Algeria among searches in French. In France there is also a lot of interest in J. M. G. Le Clézio, a Nobel prize winning novelist who is rumored to have converted to Islam and had expressed admiration for Sufism, and in Eric Geoffroy, a Sufi academic, writer, and teacher of Traditionalist origins. There are more searches for Geoffroy in France than for Sufism in Mexico. The only other persons to show up in associated searches are Gerhard Schweizer in Germany and Mirzakarim Norbekov in Russia. Schweizer is a writer whose book on Sufism, Der unbekannte Islam: Sufismus (The Unknown Islam: Sufism) has evoked interest. Norbekov is a healer who evidently uses Sufism in his back story.

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