The sickening desecration of British war graves in Benghazi – including the cemetery crucifix, smashed with hammers – has the hallmark of Saudi Wahhabism, according to local sources.
Dozens of white headstones were kicked over or systematically smashed by a gang of youths some bearded, some carrying weapons in the pristine graveyard, maintained at British tax-payers’ expense by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.
Footage posted yesterday on YouTube witnesses the men shouting Allahu Akhbar as they manhandle the headstones out of their sockets before kicking and hacking at them.
Two cemeteries were attacked – the Benghazi War Cemetery and now the Benghazi British Military Cemetery.
Lapido’s source in Tripoli, a respected lawyer behind moves to return the country to the pre-revolutionary constitution of 1951 opposed by Islamists, said: ‘These are the people who are being supported by the West. If they are at war with graves, how will these people treat women and minorities if they win the election?’
The Daily Mail and other media today (Friday) reported the desecration as being revenge for the allegedly inadvertent burning two weeks ago of Qur’ans in Afghanistan by US forces there.
But footage on YouTube, translated by Lapido, suggests a different story.
The country’s Chief Mufti, al Sheikh al Sadeq al-Gheriani, a member of the National Transitional Council supported by Britain, is filmed delivering a fatwa instructing his followers in Arabic to destroy all indigenous Muslim shrines – a sure sign of Wahhabi political ambitions in Libya.
Said Lapido’s source, speaking on skype from Tripoli: ‘It is the same guys destroying the shrines. The Mufti has told them that all graves above the ground level is taboo. A lot of people are very upset because of what they did.’
Wahhabism, which underwrites the rule of King Fahd in Saudi Arabia is a fanatical strain of Islam, different from the local Maliki strain. It seeks to destroy all accretions of what it considers to be pristine Islam, and has even destroyed holy places associated with Mohammed in Mecca.
According to the website Multaqa ahl al Hadeeth the only other country where the Chief Mufti is a salafi (fundamentalist Sunni Muslim seeking to revert to the Islam of the ancestors) is Saudi Arabia.
Other footage shows the shrine of Sayyd Wali Saleh Ben Hamed in Tripoli after its destruction.
Lapido’s source whose own life is at risk, believes the West is too sanguine about the religious forces at work in Libya and is backing the wrong people with potentially lethal consequences.
British MP Daniel Kawczynski who initiated a debate on the constitutional transition in Libya did not know about the shrine destruction.
The think tank Henry Jackson Society, whose researcher George Grant has just published a report of a ten-day visit to the country laughed off tensions in a piece posted this week on their website entitled: ‘Libya Instability & Chaos – The Story that Isn’t.’