By Hadi Fornaji.
Tripoli, 7 October, 2014:
One of Tripoli’s most famous and beautiful mosques, the Ahmed Pasha Karamanli Mosque in the Old . . .[restrict]City, has been badly vandalised by a group of gunmen.
They forced their way into the richly decorated building yesterday and started removing marble from the floors and walls and digging up the ground with drills to a about a metre in depth.
Salafists were initially accused of the destruction but have denied it. Nor is there any apparent reason why they would want to further damage the mosque. Just over two years ago, in an orgy of vandalism, they blew up and demolished shrines and mosques in and around Tripoli containing graves and dug those at other mosques and religious sites. The Karamanli Mosque, not the oldest in the old city but the largest and most beautiful, was not spared. All the tombs around the 18th-century building were ransacked and emptied, including that of Ahmed Pasha Karamanli, the founder of the Karamanli dynasty.
There are suggestions that ordinary thieves were responsible, looking for “buried treasure”. In the current situation in Tripoli and elsewhere, criminals know they can get away with anything, even attacking mosques, especially if they claim to be revolutionaries and intent on “correcting” Islam in Libya.
Given the attack, there are now fears for the Darghut Mosque, said to contain a hair of the Prophet Mohamed, and of the nearby Othman Pasha madrassa, home to a Sufi community.