First Published: 2013-01-23

 

Series of attacks against Tunisia shrines continues: Sufis accuse Wahhabis

 

Sufis say another one of their shrines in Tunisia has been torched, pinning blame on foreign-backed Salafists.

 

Middle East Online

35 attacks in seven months

TUNIS - Sufis said on Wednesday that another one of their shrines in Tunisia has been torched, pinning the blame on foreign-backed Salafist ultra-conservative Muslims.

In the 35th such attack in seven months, unidentified assailants on Tuesday night hurled Molotov cocktails at the Sidi Ahmed Uwerfelli shrine in Akuda, 140 kilometres (85 miles) south of Tunis.

"The people behind all the attacks are Wahhabis," a Salafist branch of Islam rooted in Saudi Arabia, Mazen Sherif, the deputy head of a Sufi union set up to counter the attacks, told a press conference in Tunis.

"This is just the beginning. They will go on to destroy the (Roman) sites in Carthage, El Jem and Duga. Then they will force men to grow beards and women to wear the hijab (full veil)," he said.

According to his union, which urged Tunisia's Islamist-led government to take effective action, such attacks are financed from abroad.

Since the early centuries of Islam, Sufi orders have always aroused suspicion among orthodox Muslims.

Several shrines dedicated to Muslim saints have been torched or looted in recent months in Tunisia, in acts blamed on hardline Salafists whose radical version of Sunni Islam does not tolerate saints or shrines.

Tunisian opposition and civil society groups blame the Ennahda party for showing complacency towards the Salafists.

Salafists, whose numbers in Tunisia are estimated at between 3,000 and 10,000 people, are accused of organising a series of violent attacks since the revolution ousted dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali two years ago.

They are suspected of masterminding September 14 attacks on the US embassy in Tunis to protest against an anti-Islam film produced in the United States. Four assailants were killed in clashes with security forces.

 

Britain votes to break away from EU, PM resigns

Yemen govt says rebels must withdraw before any transition

UN Chief, Saudi prince discuss situation in Yemen

5,000 migrants rescued from rubber dinghies in Mediterranean

Heat, long fasting days take their toll on Cairo residents

Libya govt. forces repel ISIS counterattack in Sirte

Oil slides on British referendum result

Crashed EgyptAir black boxes to go to France for repairs

Turkey acquits British academic over 'terror propaganda' charges

24 jailed in Bahrain for forming IS cell

Iraq commander says forces control over 80% of Fallujah

Israel sentences 4 Palestinians to life

Turkey in new quest to patch up with regional foes

Defiant Bahrain moves to dissolve opposition bloc

Kurdish-Arab forces push into IS Syria bastion of Manbij

Turkey confirms new accession talks with EU

Saudi suspect found dead after gunfight in Shiite town

Suspended Kuwait sues IOC for damages

Erdogan lashes out at EU treatment of Turkey

Turkey blocks visit of German delegation to Incirlik air base

Trump goes on blistering offensive against Clinton

EU negotiators endorse new border force proposal

Head of EU parliament hopes to arrange meeting of Israeli, Palestinian leaders

Turkish prosecutors demand 14 years for activists

Final push for votes as EU leaders warn over Brexit

Egypt government appeals court block on islands’ transfer to Saudis

Assad names Imad Khamis as new Prime Minister

Turkey wants Britain to stay in EU 'under any circumstances'

EU to open new membership talks with Turkey

Turkey arrests 3 IS suspects over 'LGBT rally plot'

Yemen rebels say consensus president crucial for peace deal

Fallujah 'almost cleared' of ISIS jihadists

Dawn prayers stoke fears for Turkey's Hagia Sophia

Turkish FM says normalisation deal depends on Israel

25 civilians killed in air raids on Syria’s Raqa

UN urges international community to aid civilians who fled Fallujah

UN envoy proposes roadmap for Yemen peace

Israel to open mission at NATO headquarters

6 Jordan soldiers killed in car bomb attack

France's Peugeot-Citroen returns to Iran in €400 million deal

Israel says Palestinian teenagers were shot 'mistakenly'

Pro-government forces prepare 'decisive' assault on Libya's Sirte

Huthi rebels advance towards Yemen's biggest airbase

17 bids for canal project linking Red Sea and Dead Sea

Egypt court deals blow to cession of Red Sea islands to Saudi