Jul
11

Muslim Brotherhood Loses One In Libya

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U.S. media is reporting on what appears to be a major loss for the Muslim Brotherhood in the recent Libyan elections. According to a report in the Boston Herald:

 Tuesday, July 10, 2012  TRIPOLI, Libya — Nijad Sharfeddin was the face of the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya’s historic parliamentary elections. Featured prominently on campaign posters in her hijab and glasses, sans makeup, she was the image of both modernity in Arab politics and conservative Islamic values. But voters suspicious of the Brotherhood, which has no real history in Libya, often asked her to name a Libyan on her ticket whom they would have heard of. She couldn’t. Those suspicions and a lack of an identity in the Libyan street were some of the many factors that led to the Brotherhood slate’s distant second-place finish in Saturday’s vote, experts and everyday Libyans said. The official election results may not be announced until next week, but the Brotherhood is already absorbing its biggest loss of the Arab Spring, having earned, according to projections, as little as 3 percent of the vote in some cities. While Brotherhood members lead in Tunisia and Egypt, and have made a strong showing in Yemen, Libya brought the electoral momentum of the world’s largest Islamic party to a screeching halt. Mahmoud Jibril — former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s foreign minister and the head of the interim government after the Gadhafi state collapsed last fall — already has taken a commanding lead even as election workers continue to count ballots. Jibril, a former professor at the University of Pittsburgh who is generally popular despite his former ties to Gadhafi, led a pro-Western coalition called the National Forces Alliance. The Brotherhood’s setback in Libya may not reverberate in the region, given the North African nation’s small population and isolation from the heart of the Middle East. But it appeared to be a consequence of the Gadhafi regime’s long-standing suppression of Islamists, which made Libyans wary of them. In interviews, many Libyans said they don’t need a party to tell them how to incorporate Islam into their state — made up almost entirely of members of the Maliki school of Sunni Muslims — and said that the Brotherhood is enigmatic, untrustworthy and didn’t take part in the revolution that overthrew Gadhafi.

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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 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.

For analysis and background on the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, go here and here.

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