Tripoli, 29 August:
Salafists have destroyed almost 30 graves at an historic madrassa in central Tripoli, in the latest spate of religiously-motivated . . .[restrict]violence to hit Libya.
The Othman Pasha madrassa, named after its Turkish founder, was attacked by scores of armed men in the early hours of this morning, who used automatic drills to dig up the graves and looted several historic texts from the school’s library.
The madrassa also serves as a boarding school.
“They came around 2am. There were about 200 of them and they were heavily armed”, one of the madrassa’s staff told the Libya Herald.
“They destroyed all the graves except two, and we think they will come back for those. There are around 30 graves, in which Othman Pasha and his family are buried”.
The man, who asked not to be named, said the Salafists were intending to take all the books from the madrassa’s library, but were persuaded not to by dismayed members of staff.
“They took about half of the books”, he said.
Over the past week, Libya has been rocked by a series of violent attacks perpetrated by Salafists on religious sites they consider idolatrous.
Three historic Sufi shrines have been targeted, in Zliten, Misrata and Tripoli, and it is reported that a number of mosques in Tripoli’s Old City have also been attacked in the past few days.
Throughout the assaults, the Supreme Security Committee, the body tasked with maintaining Libya’s internal security, has done little if anything to prevent the destruction.
It has been widely reported that leading members within the organisation sympathise with the Salafists’ objectives. [/restrict]