03/29/2013, 00.00
LIBYA

Tripoli, Islamic extremists destroy 15th century Sufi mausoleum

The attack on the tomb of Sidi Mohamed Landoulsi divides the Libyan population. The Salafis gain acceptance among the illiterate. Many consider the Sufi mausoleums places of witchcraft. Head of the local council of Tripoli, "the assault goes against the principles of Islam."

Tripoli (AsiaNews) - Yet another act of discriminationhas been registered against Shia Muslims in Libya. Yesterday afternoon in Tajura, a suburb of Tripoli, a group of Islamic extremists detonated explosives destroying the tomb of Sidi Mohamed Landoulsi, a 15th century Sufi mausoleum and national monument and protected by a special law. Residents have described the act as one of the most serious since the end of August 2012, when Salafis bulldozed an entire group of Sufi tombs located in the center of the capital.

According to AsiaNews sources, "the Islamists exploit the ignorance of the population, which considers the Sufi shrines places of witchcraft. Unfortunately, the Salafists are gaining acceptance among the population, increasing the climate of discrimination against the Sufi minority." Many people have condemned the destruction of the shrine, prompting Sadat al-Badri, the head of the local council of Tripoli, to take a stand against the extremists for the first time, branding the act as "contrary to Islam."

Two years after the death of Muammar Gaddafi, the country is still without a stable government capable of ensuring the security and control over the borders and it has become a sort of haven for Islamic extremist militias active in Algeria and Mali. Since August Islamic extremists have already destroyed 70 mosques and shrines belonging to the Sufi minority, a Shiite Muslim current considered heretical by Sunni Islam. As well as religious monuments, hundreds of tombs dating back to the colonial period and several non-Muslim libraries and cultural centers have also been destroyed. On February 15, the city revolted against the attempt to destroy the fountain statue known as "The Gazelle", a monument dating back to the colonial period, and symbol of Tripoli. (S.C.)

 

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