By Moutaz Ali.
Tripoli, 4 July 2014:
The abduction of a Sufi imam in central Tripoli today sparked small but . . .[restrict]angry protests this afternoon as neighbours closed one of the capital’s main streets with burnt tyres.
Imam Tarek Abbas was kidnapped in front of his home, close to the Abu Manjel mosque where he preached on Omar Mukhtar Street, this morning. Protestors on the street said they had been told by Abbas’ son that the imam had been kidnapped while returning from Fajr prayers.
They said the CCTV cameras of a nearby hotel had caught some of the kidnapping and had shown a number of men bundling Abbas into a car. They accused men from Mitiga airbase of being behind the abduction.
“We are sure that Mitiga militia are responsible for the kidnapping,” one protestor told the Libya Herald. “The imam had criticised their actions without fear,” he added.
Abbas is known in Tripoli as an orator and Quranic teacher. He was formerly a colonel in the army’s air defence unit.
Attacks against Sufi mosques and against Sufi leaders became widespread a couple of years ago. Ten months ago, a Sufi imam in Derna was murdered. Those responsible were widely thought to be Salafists.
Ironically violence against Salafist preachers has also increased across the country in recent days. Since Tuesday three Salafist imams have been killed in Benghazi in a what appears to be an orchestrated campaign. In those cases, however, the imams were opposed to militancy and militants have been accused.