Libya's grand mufti calls for jihad against Hifter

Article Summary
Libya's Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadiq Ghariani issued a fatwa declaring jihad against those fighting in the ranks of Gen. Khalifa Hifter, a move likely to further complicate the security situation in the country.

The decision of the Constitutional Court of Libya’s Supreme Court has failed to alleviate the political and security tension in the country, despite Ahmed Maiteeq, considered to be affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, having abdicated his post as prime minister. This step came when the constitutional committee confirmed that the recent decision of the General National Congress is illegal. However, the conflict between Islamists and their opponents — who are waging a campaign on the ground dubbed “Libya’s Dignity” and led by Maj. Gen. Khalifa Hifter — has been taken to another level, which is likely to further inflame the security and political situation.

Libyan Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadiq Ghariani has issued a fatwa declaring jihad against those fighting in the ranks of Hifter in his military operation. In a television interview, he stated, “Those who are fighting on the side of Hifter and are dying for his sake, they are dying ignorant. As for those who die fighting him, they are martyrs, who sacrificed their lives for God.” He also considered those “fighting in the ranks of Hifter to be oppressors and disobeying the legitimate ruler according to Sharia law. They are fighting people unjustly, and people have to fight them because they are oppressors.”

This call to fight the military forces affiliated with Hifter came following the call made by Libyan mufti to Ansar al-Sharia group — which is accused of terrorism — to renounce any terrorist acts against civilians. This call is made in an attempt to rid radical groups from their reputation as terrorists, which their opponents use to mobilize the international public opinion against them. Meanwhile, observers believe the fatwa of Libya’s grand mufti is likely to widen the gap between both sides and give the green light to the armed religious groups loyal to the General National Congress to fight against Hifter’s units.

In the context of military operations, according to news sources from the city of Benghazi, Hifter’s military jets bombed sites that are believed to be arms caches belonging to armed Islamic groups. This attack came as a response to a military operation carried out by these groups, targeting political figures close to Hifter.

In the meantime, Tarek Mitri, UN envoy to Libya, said yesterday [June 10] that the recent unrest in Libya has caused the process of democratic transition to slow down, pointing out that these events are threatening the future of the country.

In a statement to Libyan media outlets, Mitri said “an expanded” meeting has been scheduled on June 18 and 19, gathering all political, security and civil society figures in Libya to discuss ways to lead the country out of this tunnel, which it entered against the backdrop of division and conflict over power.

Mitri’s statement came after his intervention before the UN Security Council, where he explained that the meeting, which is sponsored by the UN and supported by the United States and Britain, seeks to put an end to the current division and proceed with the democratic transition to meet the deadline for legislative elections in January. During these elections, it is expected that about 1.5 million Libyans will vote to elect 200 MPs in the new parliament, which will be formed to replace the current National Congress.

On the other hand, Mitri confirmed that the preparations for this expanded meeting stems from the UN, which will set forth a draft consensus agreement involving all Libyan parties. This draft agreement will be discussed and then agreed upon during this two-day meeting, which is expected to be attended by more than 50 political and security figures chosen by Mitri.

Furthermore, according to Egyptian press yesterday [June 10], the outgoing Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy yesterday morning received US Ambassador David Satterfield, which is further proof that both diplomats have discussed the situation in Libya.

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Found in: parliament, libyan militias, elections
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