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 probes jihadist network amid row with US intelligence

Trump gets rough ride in EU, NATO meeting

Qatari FM says country victim of smear campaign, particularly in US

Egyptians brace for austere Ramadan

Faz3a, a local NGO mobilising young people to help Mosul refugees

Saudi minister confident on oil output deal

Egypt blocks several media websites including Jazeera

IS suicide bomber kills five in Somalia

Israel uneasy over 'crazy' regional arms race

Algeria president replaces Prime Minister

16 civilians dead in coalition strikes near Raqa

4 arrested in Tunisia anti-corruption drive

German MPs call off Turkey visit as tensions fester

Palestinian hunger strike row draws solidarity, controversy

Britain raises terror alert, deploys troops after concert massacre

Qatar probes state news agency hack

At least 20 migrants killed in Mediterranean

Israeli joy at Trump visit lacks substance

Oman evacuates Australian man from Yemen

Bahrain police open fire on Shiite protest, kill five

Turkey arrests hunger strikers on terror charges

Jewish extremists ejected from Aqsa mosque compound

Prominent Egypt rights lawyer detained

Oil producers to extend output curbs at OPEC meeting

NATO aims to break Turkey-Austria partnership deadlock

Tunisia tensions simmer after protester's death

Terrorist bomb attack kills 22 at UK pop concert

Bahrain police raid Shiite sit-in killing one protester

Trump says Israelis, Palestinians ‘can make a deal’

Five dead in Syria car bomb attacks

Syria civilians suffer deadliest month of US-led strikes

US forces raid Al-Qaeda in Yemen, kill seven jihadists

Islamists to join Algeria cabinet despite poor results

Tunisia's 2.1% GDP growth marks economic upturn

Trump meets Palestinian leader in Bethlehem

Istanbul demolishes nightclub targeted in New Year attack

WHO says 315 cholera deaths in Yemen in under one month

Trump seeks Israeli-Palestinian peace, lashes out at Iran again

Tunisia police use tear gas on protesters

Palestinians protest for hunger-striking prisoners

GCC and Arab League call for Yemen unity

Turkey's alleged coup ringleaders stand trial

Iran’s reformists sweep to power across major cities

Israel makes concessions to Palestinians 'at Trump's request'

Ivanka hales Saudi progress on women’s rights