UNESCO urges end to attacks on Libyan Sufi mosques, graves

By REUTERS
August 29, 2012 17:01

 
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PARIS - The United Nations cultural agency UNESCO has urged Libyan authorities to protect Sufi mosques and shrines under repeated attack by hardline Islamists who consider the traditional mystical school of Islam heretical.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said late on Tuesday the attacks, which have wrecked mosques in at least three cities and desecrated many graves of revered Sufi scholars, "must be halted if Libyan society is to complete its transition to democracy."

Libya's interior minister said on Tuesday he would not risk a clash with the armed men carrying out the sectarian assaults, in an unusually candid admission of the scale of the security challenge facing the country.

The League of Libyan Ulema, a group of more than 200 Muslim scholars, on Tuesday evening blamed the attacks on a son of the late dictator Muammar Gaddafi, Saadi, and his Libyan Salafi allies it said were inspired by radical Saudi preachers.

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