By George Grant.
Benghazi, 13 June 2012:
A women’s beauty parlour in Benghazi was attacked this morning, in what has been described as . . .[restrict]a drive-by shooting by suspected Salafist militants.
Nobody was injured in the attack on the parlour, called Maraiya (Mirrors), in the city’s Fuwaihat area.
Ghazaleh Bajha, the owner, said she had been threatened before by a group of unknown men who had ordered her to shut down the parlour within a month.
Fingers are now being pointed at Islamist extremists who object to female emancipation and what they perceive as the ‘sexualisation’ of women.
Benghazi has been rocked by a spate of attacks blamed on Islamist militants in recent weeks, including on the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on 22 May; the US diplomatic mission on 5 June; and a convoy carrying the British ambassador to Libya on Monday.
Last Thursday, a group of 300 heavily armed Salafists from all over Libya descended on Benghazi’s Tahrir Square where they demanded the implementation of Sharia law and an end to Libya’s efforts to transition to democracy.
The group was forced to abandon its demonstration after a large number of local residents entered the square to stage a counter-rally, chanting slogans such as “Libya is one”, “no to radical ideas” and “Libya is not Afghanistan”.
The following evening, Benghazi residents issued a further challenge to the Islamists by staging an impromptu rap concert in the gardens adjacent to what is locally known as Duck Street.
Additional reporting by Maha Ellawati.