Libyan Sufi Mosque Destroyed by Hardliners
Armed men bulldozed a Sufi shrine in Tripoli on Saturday in the middle of the day, in what some have called the most blatant sectarian attack in Libya since the fall of Gaddafi. The Sha’ab mosque had housed dozens of graves of venerated Sufi figures. The attackers, reported to be self-identified Salafis, targeted the mosque because they view the shrines as anti-Islamic. The attack follows another Sufi mosque destruction the day before in Zliten during clashes between militias, however it appears that the mosque may have been targeted separately by gunmen for destruction. A tomb and the mosque’s library were specifically destroyed. Mohamed al-Magariaf, leader of Libya’s new General National Congress, strongly condemned the attacks and called for an investigation into reports that security officials had allowed or even participated in the mosque destructions. Some accounts had said that police had been on the scene but had not intervened, while others claim the interior ministry signed off on the attacks.
While not responding to the allegations directly, Interior Minister Fawzi Abdelali submitted his resignation Sunday due to various recent violence in the country. Abdelali cited critics in the GNC undermining the government as his reason for the sudden resignation. “He submitted his resignation to protest against congressmen criticising the government and to defend the revolutionaries,” an official statement said. The government, meanwhile, has said it has raised security around mosques and museums around the country to prevent more attacks.