By Libya Herald staff.
Tunis, 12 October 2014:
The historic Othman Pasha Madrassa in the Tripoli’s old City was vandalised yesterday evening by . . .[restrict]a crowd of gunman, estimated at between 70 and 150 in number.
They are reported to have smashed doors of the madras, home to a small Sufi community, stole books including Korans and, in an act of apparent sheer vindictiveness, chopped down the tree at the centre of the peaceful courtyard.
Earlier in the day, gunman had tried to get into the Darghouth Mosque across the narrow street from the madrassa, by the Old City’s Bab Al-Bahr, still more commonly known as the Bab Qaddafi. They were prevented by armed locals but it was feared, correctly it appears, that they would return with reinforcements.
The madrassa was attacked and vandalised two years ago, with all the graves in the small attached cemetery and outer buildings dug up and the bones removed. Given that fact, the motivation for yesterday’s attack is unclear, other than the fact that, as a Sufist institution, it is likely to be regarded with hostility by the increasingly Salafist-oriented Libya Dawn forces which control the capital.
Earlier in the week, vandals – almost certainly the same people as involved in yesterday’s incidents – attacked the Karamanli Mosque next to the Old City’s gold market. That attack was later condemned by the Libyan Committee of Ulema but that has evidently not deterred the militants.
“It’s plain criminality,” a source close to those involved in the madrassa told the Libya Herald today. “But there is no security in Tripoli. People know who is doing this, who they are. But there are no arrests.” [/restrict]