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More about al Qaeda's influence in Libya!

Interesting op-ed Article: Libya's Coming Islamist Government by DANIEL WAGNER / Connecticut published Sunday, October 9, 2011

According to a recent op-ed piece in the Huffington Post, Libya may have some major islamists infiltrating the higher echelon of the new government and imposing a strict form of Sharia law in the country in the years to come. 

In a recent article I spoke at length about Libya (Could Libya's revolution be hijacked by potential Al Qaeda linked jihadists?) and the fear that the revolution might be taken over by Islamists, specifically how Abdel Hakim Belhaj might be al Qaeda's key to infiltrating the new government. Well, according to Daniel Wagner's article, there are actually three main players in the game; The new Tripoli Municipal Governing Council is led by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood -- Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar. The country's most influential politician -- Ali Sallabi -- is an Islamic scholar. And of course -- Abdel Hakim Belhaj -- the former leader of a group believed to be aligned with Al Qaeda. Belhaj is seeking to unseat the nominal prime minister of the interim government, Mahmoud Jibril, the U.S. trained economist who has criticized the Islamists. The Muslim Brotherhood members of the interim government, who currently dominate the Governing Council, have declared their intention to impose fatwas, ban theater, prevent women from driving, and eliminate art that takes a human form. Article one of the 'new' Libya's draft constitution states: "Islam is the Religion of the State, and the principal source of legislation is Islamic Jurisprudence (Sharia)."  (the Salafists have a strong following in Libya, especially in the east) Information about Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar as the head of the council is still a bit scant, but the “democratic” nature of the Libyan Islamists is exposed through the story of Fathi Ben Issa. He sat on the Tripoli Municipal Governing Council and he first became uneasy when the Islamists wanted to ban theaters and certain kinds of art. The last straw came when a fatwa was circulated banning women from driving. Ben Issa quit the council and soon became the recipient of death threats. The Islamists won the first clash with the secularists. The two disagreed on the role of Sharia in the draft constitution. Initially, the victors were the secularists, and Sharia was supposed to be mentioned as one of the sources of legislation. Once the secularists left the city of Benghazi, the Muslim Brotherhood proposed and passed a revision making Sharia the law of the land. National Transitional Council (NTC) Chairman Mustafa Abdul Jalil was cheered when he said that Sharia will be the "main source" of law. Ali Sallabi, the most important Islamist political leader, cites Rashid al-Ghannushi or Rached Ghannouchi as a major influence. Rashid al Ghanushi is a Tunisian Islamist who contributed to founding the Hizb al‐Nahdah, the Tunisian Renaissance Party, who suggested a common ambition, proposing what some say Recep Tayyip Erdoğan (a Turkish politician who has been the Prime Minister of Turkey since 2003) party has managed to achieve: a prosperous, democratic Muslim state, led by a party that is deeply religious but operates within a set system. They speak of a shared experience and a common heritage with some of the younger members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and with the Ennahda Party in Tunisia (like Turkey, Tunisia faced decades of a state-enforced secularism that never completely reconciled itself with a conservative population). Abdel Hakim Belhaj is the most concerning and I have gone into great length about his connections in a previous post. How Libya comes out of this is yet to be seen, but one hopes that the Islamists will not be able to implement the harsher laws of Sharia for the well being of the moderate Libyans.   

References:
"The Secularist-Islamist Struggle in Libya Begins." Retrieved 10/10/2011
"Activists in Arab World Vie to Define Islamic State" by Anthony Shadid and David D. Kirkpatrick September 29, 2011.
Staff (4 August 2011). "Libya Live Blog: August 4, 2011 – 15:24". Al Jazeera.
Phillips, Jack (7 August 2011). "Libya Rebels Hold Gains, Report". The Epoch Times.
Head, Jonathan (7 October 2011) Libya NTC forces take most of Gaddafi stronghold Sirte BBC News Africa.

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