Tue. Jul 23rd, 2024

By Godfrey Olukya 11-9-2012

United Nations and historians have condemned the destruction of religious and historic sites in various parts of Libya by hooligans who are against the Sufi sect.

‘It is unfortunate that such acts are happening in this era.’ said Tanzanian history lecturer, Robin Mukota. ‘Surely why should such historical sites be destroyed.’ he added.

The destruction of the sites reportedly started in October 2011 in Tripoli and continued in 2012 in other parts of Libya.

During August 2012, several sites were destroyed, including one of Libya’s most important Sufi shrines, Sidi Abdul- Salam al-Asmar al-Fituri in Zliten and the Al-Sha’ab Mosque in central Tripoli. Tombs were desecrated and libraries were also targeted.

Three United Nations independent experts strongly condemned the destruction of Sufi religious and historic sites in various parts of Libya, and the intimidation and excessive use of force against unarmed protesters opposing the destruction.

‘The attacks on Sufi religious sites require a swift and rigorous response by the authorities, without which they are likely to continue and spread,” they warned.

‘These events amount to the violation of numerous human rights provisions,” said the experts, highlighting the right to freedom of religion and belief, including the rights of religious minorities to the protection of their places of worship, and the right to enjoy and access cultural heritage.

They urged the Libyan authorities to take all necessary measures to protect places of cultural and religious significance that may also be threatened.

The special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielfeldt said,”Attacks on places of worship and the desecration of cemeteries violate not only the rights of individual believers, but also send an intimidating signal to various communities attached to the places in question. The long term prospects for freedom of religion or belief and religious diversity in the entire country seem to be at stake.’

The UN experts also expressed concern at reports that the Libyans authorities did not seek to stop the demolitions, and that peaceful protestors of the demolition of the Al-Sha’ab mosque were physically threatened.

The government said it is investigating the destruction.



Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *