UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova has expressed her grave concern over the destruction and desecration of Sufi shrines and libraries in Zliten, Misrata and Tripoli Libya. Ms Bokova called on the perpetrators to cease the destruction immediately.
Referring to destruction at the Islamic Centre of Sheikh Abdussalam Al-Asmar in Zliten, the Mosque of SidiSha’ab in Tripoli, and at the Shrine of Sidi Ahmed Zaroug in Misrata, the Director-General said:
“Destroying places of religious and cultural significance cannot be tolerated.
“I am deeply concerned about these brutal attacks on places of cultural and religious significance. Such acts must be halted, if Libyan society is to complete its transition to democracy. For this, we need dialogue and mutual respect.
“Libya’s future prospects depend on its inhabitants’ ability to build a participatory democracy that respects the rights and the heritage of all its citizens.”
The Director-General urged the Libyan authorities and society at large to exercise their responsibility in protecting cultural heritage and sites of religious significance for future generations.
Ms Bokova furthermore welcomed the Libyan government’s clear condemnation of the destruction of the sites and indicated that UNESCO stands ready to provide assistance to protect and rehabilitate them.