Lifestyle & Belief

Sufi sites in Libya bulldozed, attacked


Pakistani police officials inspect a damaged Sufi Shrine after a bomb explosion in Peshawar on June 21, 2012.


A. Majeed

A Sufi shrine in Libya's capital has been bulldozed, the latest in a string of attacks on Sufi religious sites. 

Men in bulldozers partially destroyed the shrine on Saturday, bystanders told BBC News. Attackers also set a historic library in a nearby mosque on fire, Reuters reported. 

The attacks come just a day after the tomb of revered Sufi scholar Abdel Salam al-Asmar in the city of Zlitan was found desecrated, according to BBC News. The region has been experiencing clashes between tribal groups that have killed two and injured 18, according to Reuters

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Though officials have blamed past vandalism on Islamic extremists, some of whom follow ultraconservative Salafi doctrine, it was not immediately clear who was responsible for the attack, the Associated Press reported

These conservative Muslims view many Sufi sites as idolatrous.

"The extremist Salafis took advantage (of the fact) that security officials were busy calming down the clashes and they desecrated the shrine," Zlitan military council official Omar Ali told Reuters.  

Libya's interim President Mohammed el-Megarif said the attacks were "unacceptable" in a TV broadcast Saturday, adding that the crime's perpetrators would be prosecuted, according to the AP.