By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 11 October 2014:
Gunmen this morning tried to force their way into the Darghouth Mosque in Tripoli’s Old City. . . .[restrict]However, they were stopped by locals who gathered to protect the building and forced the attackers to leave.
According to a source connected to the mosque, three carloads of “bearded men” arrived intent on to digging up the mosque, claiming that there was a grave there which had to be removed.
Locals are still guarding the mosque, the source said, convinced that the extremists will return with support.
The attempt on the mosque follows the attack by vandals on the Old City’s largest mosque, the Karamanli Mosque earlier this week. Its desecration was subsequently condemned by the Libyan Committee of Ulema (the Grand Mufti was in Mecca on Haj at the time) but there were fears even then that the Darghouth Mosque would be attacked next.
The mosque is named after Darghouth Pasha, the Greek-born Ottoman admiral who captured Tripoli from the Knights of St John in 1551 and added it to the Ottoman Empire. Made Pasha of Tripoli by Sultan Sulaimen the Magnificent, he extended Ottoman control over Tripolitania, capturing Gharian from the Awlad Sulaiman, as well as Tajoura, Misrata and Tawergha. He also captured Djerba which until the 19th century came under Tripoli rule. Killed in the Siege of Malta in 1565, his body was brought back to Tripoli for burial.
The mosque is locally more famously known for housing a hair of the Prophet Mohamed.