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Senior scholar calms fears of civil war in Libya

February 17, 2014 at 11:14 pm

A member of the General Secretariat of the International Union of Muslim Scholars has calmed growing fears of a civil war erupting in Libya. Ali Mohamed Al-Salaby said that the investigation into military council official Abdel Hakim Belhadj at Tripoli airport was a manifestation of the stability and confidence of the state, not of conflict between different wings of the rebel groups in Libya.

Speaking to the media, Mr. Al-Salaby said that transitional government led by Abdur Rahim Al-Keeb is a competent administration looking to work towards the development of democracy. “We support Al-Keeb’s Government and see it as a government which represents various segments of Libyan society, including the rebels,” he said. “It is not true that it has marginalised or isolated the rebels, as many of its members, including the Ministers of the Interior, Defence and Youth are from rebel groups.”

Al-Salaby noted that the verification of Belhadj’s identity at the airport was a security measure reflecting the return of the state’s sovereignty. “Verifying the identity of Mr Belhadj at Tripoli airport was a security measure; he carries a passport with a different name, so this had nothing to do with targeting him personally.”

Pointing out that the emergence of Islamist politicians is entirely natural in a country like Libya, which is predominantly Muslim, Al-Salaby added, “There is no doubt that the Libyan type of Islam is centrist and moderate, and should not be of concern at all.”

The writer and researcher took the opportunity to praise the role played by Tunisia’s military commander Rachid Ammar in the Tunisian and Libyan revolutions: “I visited Tunisia recently and I believe that God Almighty enabled Rachid Ammar to save both peoples when he refused to turn his guns against the people of Tunisia and also backed the rebels in Libya to overthrow tyranny.”

Following a meeting with Al-Nahda Party leader Sheikh Rashid Ghannouchi in Tunisia, Al-Salaby said that he expects the Islamist movement there to create a model for other countries in the region to follow. “I discussed with Sheikh Ghannouchi the challenges he faces, especially the development of Islamic thought in the matters of freedom, justice, equality, women and political jurisprudence,” he said. “I found him to be very understanding and as a result I am very relaxed about the situation in Tunisia.”