By Hadi Fornaji
Tripoli, 28 August
Some 21 organisations, including Lawyers for Justice in Libya (LFJL), have condemned the recent mosque attacks and demanded appropriate action from the General National Congress (GNC).
In a letter to the GNC dated 27 August,19 Libyan organisations laid out six demands, including that the GNC commit to fully investigating the damage caused to Sufi shrines since Thursday, and ensure protection of both protestors and press.
“This is the moment for the GNC to define itself and its authority” said the LFJL “No action, will mean that the power in the country is not with our democratically-elected representatives but with unknown forces. We urge you to act now on behalf of all law-abiding Libyans. We plead with you to act now to protect our heritage.”
LFJL maintained that the wanton destruction of these sites was in breach of every international agreement to which Libya had signed up. It added: “These fanatic iconoclasts have wreaked more damage to that heritage in the past 72 hours than was done during the six months of the armed conflict.”
For its part, Human Rights Watch (HRW) told Libya Herald today: “We are shocked at the attacks on Sufi shrines in the past few days and more so, at the failure of law enforcement agencies to step in and protect these national heritage sites.”
While welcoming the condemnation of the destructive acts by the head of the GNC, Mohammed Magarief, HRW said: “The government should take immediate steps and deploy police in front of Sufi shrines and other threatened religious sites in Libya”
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has also denounced the attacks, urging the GNC to restore security and “work to protect the freedom of belief and freedom of thought, and enable the citizens to exercise their religious rites in a climate of security, and meet their aspirations in the modern democratic state, that respects all communities.”