Dozens of Yemen’s mosques have come under attack as Houthi militias continue transforming places of worship in the war-torn country into pulpits for their sectarian preachers, local sources reported.
Residents in Sanaa said that Houthi leaders, around ten days ago, supervised the demolition of a protective wall that surrounded Al-Firdaws mosque in the eastern Sawan area of the Houthi-run capital.
The space created by removing the barrier was used for the building of commercial stores that were later offered to Houthi loyalists for rent.
Houthis taking over the mosque’s property took place a few days after the group seizing nearby real-estate by force, said Sanaa locals.
Al-Firdaws is considered one of the largest mosques in Sanaa. Over the course of the past few years, it has been under constant threat of Houthi gunmen and leaders.
This prompted Yemenis to urge human rights organizations to work on bringing repeated Houthi assaults against places of worship and religious centers to an end.
Two weeks ago, in the Miad area of central Sanaa, worshipers collectively skipped Friday sermon after Houthis forcibly assigned one of its loyalist clerics to give the address at the local mosque.
The newly opened Al-Faith mosque was later shut down, locals reported.
Houthis insisted on removing and replacing a popular moderate preacher that was chosen by the people to give the speeches at Al-Fatih with one of their sectarian clerics.
As part of their systematic targeting of religious institutions in Yemen, Houthis also burned down a historic library in the north-western city of Hajjah.
The library was known to hold some of the country's oldest religious and cultural manuscripts and books.
It was looted, vandalized then set on fire by Houthis who claimed that it was tied to members of Hajjah’s Salafist community.
The burning of the library is part of the Houthis' plan to bulldoze Yemen's identity and cultural heritage, Hajjah activists warned, adding that Houthis are seeking to spread a sectarian ideology in the country.