Reuters is reporting on statements by the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood that the National Transitional Council needs to clarify a new law banning the formation of political parties based on religion. According to the report:
TRIPOLI | Wed Apr 25, 2012 12:02pm EDT (Reuters) – Libya, preparing for elections in June, has banned parties based on religion, tribe or ethnicity, the government said on Wednesday, and a new Islamist party viewed as a leading contender signaled it would challenge the decision. National Transitional Council spokesman Mohammed al-Harizy said the council passed the law governing the formation of political parties on Tuesday evening. ‘Parties are not allowed to be based on religion or ethnicity or tribe,’ he told Reuters. He did not make clear how this would affect a political party formed in March by Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists. The new party was expected to make a strong showing in the election, the first since last year’s overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in a NATO-backed popular uprising. The head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Development Party said the NTC needed to make it clearer what it meant by banning religious parties. He said this would cause controversy in conservative Libya, whose population of six million is made up almost entirely of Sunni Muslims.’This kind of clause is only useful in countries where there exists many religions, not in Libya where most people are religious Muslims,’ Sawan told Reuters. ‘This law needs to be reviewed by the NTC and if it’s not changed, we would have to protest it.’ Libya’s NTC has already indicated that the country will be run in accordance with sharia, though the exact place of Islamic law in the legal system will be settled only once a new constitution is written after elections. Political analysts have said the Muslim Brotherhood is likely to emerge as Libya’s most organized political force and an influential player in the oil-exporting state where Islamists, like all dissidents, were harshly suppressed during the 42 years of Qaddafi’s dictatorial rule. Islamists have performed strongly in post-uprising elections in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco since October and they are also likely to do well in Libya, a socially conservative country where alcohol was already banned before the 2011 revolution.
A post from March discussed the announcement by the Libyan Brotherhood that it had formed a political party.
A post from September 2011 reported on what the New York times called the “growing influence of Islamists in Libya”, identifying Qatari Muslim Brotherhood figure Ali Sallabi (aka Ali Salabi), already known to be the Revolution’s “spiritual leader and a close associate of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi, as well as for the first time Abel al-Rajazk Abu Hajar who is said to lead the Tripoli Municipal Governing Council and is described as a “Muslim Brotherhood figure.” An earlier post had reported on Ali Sallabi and his association with Qaradawi. A post from December 2011 reported that a delegation of the International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS), headed by Qaradawi, was on a four-day visit to Libya at the invitation of the Transitional Council. The post also reported that two individuals tied to the U.K. and European Muslim Brotherhood were part of the delegation. Israeli analyst Jonathan D. Halev’s article titled “Did The Libyan Leadership Deceive the West” observes:
Qatari involvement is likely to produce a regime in Libya that follows the political orientation of Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, thereby giving the Muslim Brotherhood an open door in the new Libya. The political debate in Libya will be within an essentially Islamist universe, with different leaders distinguished by the degree to which they seek to implement their Islamism. It seems that the strategy of the democratic states that trusted the promises of the rebel forces to adopt and implement the principles of democracy has collapsed, and that Western aid to overthrow Gaddafi’s tyrannical regime prepared the groundwork for the establishment of an Islamic state, which eventually may become hostile to the West.
Read the rest here.
Brooking fellow Omar Ashour published an article titled “Libya’s Muslim Brotherhood Faces the Future” in which among other things, he makes the interesting claim that the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood was born in the United States in 1980.
MEMRI has just published a new analysis of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood titled “Libyan Muslim Brotherhood On the Rise.”