The Sidi Al-Andaloussi mausoleum after the explosion.
Last Thursday, unknown persons set off explosives that destroyed the mausoleum of Sidi Al-Andaloussi, a five-century-old Sufi holy site in Tajura, near Tripoli. Refusing to give in to religious extremism, local residents immediately launched a fundraising effort to rebuild the sacred site.
The mausoleum, which is the resting place of Sidi Mahomed Al-Andaloussi, a 15th century Sufi theologian, is located in Tajura’s eastern suburbs. Its destruction comes just a few months after Islamist extremists carried out a wave of attacks against Sufi mausoleums. On August 28, extremists had destroyed part of the Al-Shaab Al-Dahman mausoleum in Tripoli. That same day, the mausoleum of Sheikh Ahmed al-Zarrouk in Misrata, 200 kilometres east of the capital, was also destroyed. And the day before, dozens of extremists had destroyed the mausoleum of Sheikh Abdessalem Al-Asmar, another 15th century Sufi theologian, in Zliten, 160 kilometres east of Tripoli.
Following the explosion, local residents investigate the damage.
Though no one has claimed responsibility for the latest attack, residents can’t help but imagine it to be the work of Islamist extremists. Many such radicals disapprove of mausoleums, which are built to honour those considered to be Sufi saints, because they see this veneration as going against the precept that there is only one God.
A donation box set up to collect funds to rebuild the mausoleum.

"Our new challenge is to rebuild the mausoleum as quickly as possible"

Nader El Gadi is a photographer who lives in Tajura. He went to the Sidi Al-Andaloussi mausoleum last Thursday to take photos of the destruction.
In the hours following the explosion, we quickly formed a committee to collect funds in order to rebuild the mausoleum. We set up a donation box that local residents can deposit money in, and started looking for an architect to draw the plans for the new building.
Several months ago, Salafist groups had already threatened to destroy the mausoleum. Local residents took this as a challenge, and volunteered to keep watch on the building so that it wouldn’t end up like the mausoleums that were destroyed with bulldozers in broad daylight last August. However, the attackers managed to sneak in very in early in the morning and hide explosives that they then detonated from a distance. Our new challenge is to rebuild the mausoleum as quickly as possible.
"By some miracle, the tomb itself was spared"
The attackers seemed to have planned this carefully, because they hid five explosives, one at each corner of the building and one in the middle, to make sure that it would be completely destroyed. The north side and the roof went up in smoke, but by some miracle, the tomb itself was spared.
Our national congress didn’t do anything or say anything to denounce this – it was too busy with dealing with the rape of two foreign humanitarian aid workers that happened at the same time in Benghazi. However, Tajura residents were pleasantly surprised by the reaction of Libya’s Grand Mufti, sheikh Sadek-al-Ghariani, who publicly condemned this attack, even though he himself is close to the Salafist movement and does not agree with the idea of mausoleums, either. He notably said, via a statement, that this incident could provoke discord among Muslims.
According to our Observer, many ancient books were destroyed. 
Followers of Sufism are of course outraged by this attack, but they’re not the only ones. Everyone in Tajura saw this site as belonging to our social and cultural heritage. The mausoleum was founded by local residents after Sidi Al-Andaloussi’s death, 500 years ago. It was restored in the seventies and declared a national archaeological treasure. This place is part of Sufism’s history. Following the explosion, we found many ancient books that were badly damaged. For us, this is tragic.
All photos by our Observer Nader El Gadi (also posted on his Facebook page).