"A shrine in the Libyan capital Tripoli venerating a Sufi Muslim saint has been partly destroyed - the latest in a series of attacks blamed on ultra-conservative Salafi Islamists. Tripoli residents said men with bulldozers attacked the shrine of al-Shaab al-Dahmani, unimpeded by police. The attack came a day after hardliners were accused of damaging the tomb of a Sufi scholar in the city of Zlitan. Hardline Salafists regard the shrines as idolatrous. On Friday, a group attacked the tomb of 15th-Century scholar Abdel Salam al-Asmar in Zlitan, about 160km (100 miles) south-east of Tripoli. The Reuters news agency said its dome had collapsed. Video footage showed chunks of masonry littering the floor, bullet holes pockmarking the walls and ornate Islamic tiling destroyed." BBC
It has seemed that Libya might perhaps have escaped the curse of Salafist Wahhabism. This seemed true because of the peculiar nature of the country with its small population, its long history of Sufi involvement in religious affairs, and the high percentage of Libyans who were educated abroad by the unlamented Qathafi government.
There is, however, a sizable Salafist group. Their eventual role in the country is uncertain. These Salafists are showing up in places like Syria and more particularly in Central Africa. In Mali they are attacking the Zawiyas of Sufi lodges and the tombs of Sufi saints. In Mali the Salafists now hold Timbukto (veriously spelt). If they succeed in capturing the capital, Bamako, their will be an even more severe "purge" of Muslims who are thought to be less than pure.
Sufism is a varied expression of Islam that concentrates on the Batn, the inner spiritual life of Muslims rather than the rule driven Islam of the Salafists who seek everywhere to impose their inhumanly austere Sharia law. They hate the Sufis for their belief in the importance of the love of God.
The distinctions among various forms and belief systems within Islam still escape almost everyone in the US, and, especially within the US Government. It is my impression that people do not wish to understand. What they want is the GWOT. Ignorance makes the endless devotion to that cause easier. pl