At a signal from the sheikh, two figures in tall brown hats and flowing white robes began to whirl, their skirts unfurling as they spun. Turning around them was a circle of about 50 people, holding hands and repeating the core tenet of Islamic belief: La illaha il Allah, there is no god but God.
Most of them were not Muslims. They were Christians, Buddhists, agnostics and even atheists. Teenagers and their parents, senior citizens, immigrants and native-born Louisvillians. They had gathered on an otherwise ordinary Tuesday evening in the Saints’ Hall of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church on Hubbard’s Lane to learn about Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam.
“Sufism is not about religious doctrine and belief; it’s about developing our humanness,” Kabir Helminski, a local sheikh of the Mevlevi Sufi order, told the audience. “How will we deal with our egos — how…