Libyan Islamists destroy 15th century shrine, library

Libyan Islamists destroy 15th century shrine, library

PanARMENIAN.Net - Conservative Islamists blew up the tomb of a 15th century Sufi scholar and burned down a library in the Libyan city of Zlitan, a military official said on Saturday, Aug 25 the latest attacks on sites in the region branded idolatrous by some sects, Reuters reported.

The attackers used bombs and a bulldozer to destroy a complex of shrines that included the tomb of Abdel Salam al-Asmar on Friday and ruined thousands of books at the Asmari Mosque library, said witnesses and Zlitan military council official Omar Ali.

Hardliners, many of them emboldened by the Arab Spring revolts, have targeted a number of sites belonging to Islam's mystical Sufi tradition in Libya, Egypt and Mali over the past year.

The assaults have also recalled the 2001 dynamiting by the Taliban of two 6th-century statues of Buddha carved into a cliff in Bamiyan in central Afghanistan.

Friday's attacks followed two days of clashes between tribal factions in Zlitan which killed two people and injured 18, according to military council counts.

"The extremist Salafis took advantage (of the fact) that security officials were busy calming down the clashes and they desecrated the shrine," Ali told Reuters, referring to conservative Muslims who see many Sufi sites as idolatrous.

 Top stories
"We are concerned about the state of the European project," the foreign ministers of the Six said in a statement after talks.
The Siege Watch report says 1.09 million people are living in 46 besieged communities in Syria, far more than the 18 listed by the UN.
Rebel-held areas in and around Aleppo are still home to 350,000 people, and aid workers have said they could soon fall to the government.
The launch would be in defiance of repeated warnings by governments who suspect it is a banned test of ballistic missile technology.
Partner news