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Decentralised government "will not damage Libyan unity"

Dr Ali Al-Salaby of the International Union for Muslim Scholars has played down the fears about Libyan unity as the margin between freedom and decentralisation of the government widens. The specialist in Libya's Islamic affairs insists that the unity of Libya "represents the common interest of the Libyans, just as freedoms represent their common aspirations".

Speaking to the media, Dr. Al-Salaby explained that the demands for decentralisation and the expansion of the climate of freedom do not pose any threat to the future of Libya. "For sure," he said, "the majority of Libyans oppose the abhorrent centralisation that dominated Libya for the past few decades, so today we call for decentralisation while creating a system that gives states and municipalities broad powers to facilitate services for the people." The marginalisation of various cities of the kind that took place during the rule of Gaddafi should come to an end, he added. "We should not fear freedom, as it is a common interest for all Libyans.


Dr. Al-Salaby praised the emergence of the Justice and Development Party as one of a number of parties emerging post-Gaddafi. "This is a step in the right direction," he said. He expects more Islamic parties to be announced in the coming days and weeks. "This will allow those Libyans with a committed Islamic background to stand for the National Congress and contribute to the drafting of the new constitution." Al-Salaby believes that the new constitution will preserve Libya's identity and lead to the state being a true democracy.

"I'm comfortable with having the laws of God involved in private and public life," he said, "and I am optimistic that God will not leave us; He helped us to get rid of the authoritarian regime and will help us build a state of civil institutions and law."

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