Action – 8 September 2014

Sep 8, 2014 | ISIS

ISIS did not yet exist in Libya, but fissures between the mainstream religious establishment and Tobruq were creating an environment for radical preaching. The HoR moved a step closer in its bid to expel Libya’s ultraconservative Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani this week. Al-Ghariani has long been despised by Libya’s liberals, not only for his conservative stance, but also for his insistence on intervening in the country’s political life and his apparent backing for militant Islamist forces including Ansar Al-Sharia. However, the Mufti has taken things a step further of late, publicly supporting the forces of Operation Libya Dawn and urging them to consolidate their control over the capital. His comments were largely made on a TV station owned by his relative and based in Exeter in the UK. When the UK Home Office was made aware of Al-Ghariani’s incitement he quickly fled the UK before being apprehended. His comments were understood inside Libya as the Mufti’s sanctioning some of the violence that was meted out by Operation Libya Dawn brigades against those suspected of having links to Zintan after the latter’s defeat in Tripoli at the end of August. The HoR therefore called on the Grand Mufti this week to attend a special hearing in the ruling body. Given that the Mufti who is believed to be either in Qatar or Turkey is not going to comply, it is almost certain that the House will expel him from his post. This step is long overdue as the Mufti has promoted dysfunctional reforms to Libya’s banking system and has been rumoured to be engaged in widespread corruption and the advocacy of violent disobedience to the government that appointed him. Despite his malfeasance, the Mufti still has his supporters and the HoR’s actions could well create a backlash.