Thursday, 11 April 2013

Libya: Grand Mufti ups the pressure

Libya's ultra conservative Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani has continued with his meddling in the political arena. This week, he called on Libyans to come out in their thousands to pressurise the Congress to issue the Political Exclusion Law, issuing a fatwa ruling that doing so is fard kifayah (a religious obligation).

In a bid to reach as wide an audience as possible, the Mufti, who has made no bones about his support for the current uncompromising draft of the Political Exclusion Law, also gave a lecture that was filmed and distributed this week. In it Al-Ghariani proclaimed, “If this law can't be applied unless one hundred thousand people come out, then this number of people have to come out.”

Al-Ghirani declared, too, that in order to set up a proper state Libya needed to issue the Political Exclusion Law to expel all former regime loyalists who are now “penetrating the state”, and to reform the judiciary and activate it in a proper manner, meaning that, in his view, it should be purged of all those who have links to the former regime.

The Grand Mufti also made an outright attack on the government, asserting that the state is “stealing hundreds of millions” and is stealing public money on a wider scale than the former regime. Al-Ghirani called for all corrupt elements who were part of the National Transitional Council's executive office or the interim government or all those in the current government to be held to account.

In a clear effort to pave the way in the public mind for an Islamist alternative, the Mufti also asserted that “these governments are still working in the same way as the former regime”.

While Al-Ghiriani is an influential figure who commands a great deal of support and respect, his repeated insistence on intervening in politics is prompting serious anger and resentment among some Libyans, particularly those in the liberal camp. His assertion earlier this month in a letter to Minister of Social Affairs Kamila Khamis Al-Mazini that Libyan women should not be allowed to marry foreigners, including foreign Muslims, as well as his condemnation of the latest UN report on violence against women, which the Dar Al-Ifta described as “menacing”, caused outcry among certain Libyans who fear the Mufti's growing political role and what they see as the increasing Islamisation of society.

For more news and expert analysis about Libya, please see Libya Focusand Libya Politics & Security.

© 2013 Menas Associates

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