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article imageLibya's armed Islamists vandalize Muslim graves as idolatrous

By Katerina Nikolas     Oct 12, 2011 in World
In yet another display of disunity between Libya's new conquerors there is a growing trend of grave desecration occurring. The interim head of the NTC denounced the practice on Tuesday, which is instigated by rebel fighters who adhere to Salafi Islam.
In post Gaddafi Libya intolerance is becoming the norm. The new wave of grave desecrations and vandalism is carried out by Muslims on Muslim graves, as proponents of Salafi Islamism vent their disapproval of the idolatrous nature of graves.
On Sunday night a mosque in Tripoli’s Al-Masri district was violated by a group of 200 armed gunmen. Gulf News reported that local resident Mahmud Rahman described the incident, saying the gunmen “arrived in pickups fitted with heavy machineguns.” He went on to say "They forced open the mosque's door and then started to dig up the tombs of imams Abdel Rahman el-Masri and Salem Abu Seif, and made off with their relics.”Another witness recounted that the gunmen were well organized, sealing off the mosque and communicating via walkie-talkies. He said "They had beards and were in military uniform. They must have been Islamic extremists wanting to make trouble. They want power, they want to control Libya.”Sunday’s attack was at least the third so far. The Tripoli Post reported that last week pneumatic drills were used to attack a Muslim cemetery in Gargaresh and another close to Tripoli airport. Hard line extremists believe that gravestones are in violation of Islamic law.
On Tuesday Mustafa Abdul Jalil, interim head of the NTC, condemned the attacks for the first time. The Wall Street Journal reported he asked religious authorities to issue a decree against such acts, saying “It’s not allowed in Islamic law to do this.” Jalil has already publicly announced that post Gaddafi Libya will follow sharia law but the extent of its interpretation is already coming to the forefront. Muammar Gaddafi ruled over a country that practiced moderate Islam and kept a constant vigil against the rise of extreme Islam. Without his firm hand at the helm Libya is factoring into divisive groups, not only between anti-Gaddafi groups and pro-Gaddafi loyalists, but between Libya’s new conquerors. There is an increasing trend towards power falling into the hands of extremists, as Gaddafi warned
Tripoli’s commander Abdel Hakim Belhadj is an advocate of a caliphate state though has moderated his views when interviewed by the Western media. Nevertheless he is considered to be the leader of extremists and was imprisoned under Gaddafi due to his leadership role in the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group. His influential friend Sheik Ali Al-Salabi has called for a moderate Islam in Libya but the extremists appear to becoming impatient at maintaining the facade of moderatism.
More about Libya's Islamists, Gargaresh Muslim cemetery, tombs of imams, mosque Tripoli's Zawiyat alDahmani, Abdel Hakim Belhadj
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