Libyan Revolution Spiritual Guide Close Associate of Youssef Qaradawi

Ali Salabi

An Irish newspaper is reporting that the spiritual guide of the Libyan revolution is a close association of Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi. According to a report in the Irish Times:

IF ANYONE could be considered the spiritual guide of the Libyan revolution, it is Sheikh Ali Salabi. For the last six months the lightly bearded cleric has travelled between Libya and his base in Qatar, visiting rebel fighters on the front line; taking soundings from those who inhabit the country’s Islamist spectrum; contributing to discussions that resulted in the National Transitional Council’s (NTC) draft constitution; and, quietly, and with NTC approval, attempting to negotiate, through intermediaries, the departure of the Gadafy family from Libya with Muammar Gadafy’s son Saif-ul-Islam. Arguably Libya’s most prominent religious scholar, Salabi has impeccable credentials within the country’s Islamist firmament. After spending much of the 1980s jailed, along with other dissidents, in Tripoli’s notorious Abu Salim prison, Salabi went into exile, first in Saudi Arabia, then Sudan, Yemen and finally Qatar, where he has been a close associate of the Muslim Brotherhood-linked cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi. In 2005, Saif-ul-Islam, mindful of Salabi’s influence, persuaded him to collaborate on a rehabilitation programme for members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), a militant organisation that once posed the greatest threat to Gadafy. Salabi, who is often labelled a Muslim Brotherhood cleric, describes himself as “an independent, nationalist-minded scholar” and not part of any organisation. The regime, he says, had tried to paint him as a supporter of the LIFG, but he insists he always abhorred its violence. The softly spoken cleric, one of whose brothers is the imam at a mosque in Galway, and another, named Ismail, commander of a rebel brigade in eastern Libya, has thought long and hard about his vision for Libya’s future. He mentions Turkey under the ruling AKP party and Malaysia as examples to follow. “The goal for which the Libyan people have sacrificed so much, including their blood, is to have democracy, justice, freedom and equality,” he tells The Irish Times. “The new Turkey seems to fulfil a large part of the ambitions and hopes of most people here.” But asked what role he would like to see Islam play in post-Gadafy Libya, Salabi talks about the place he believes it should have in the constitution. “Islam was the fuel of this revolution, it motivated people. Islam is part of the culture in Libya and it always has to be part of the constitution.”

Read the rest here.

An Israeli think-tank report details Salbi’s role in negotiations between Gaddafi’s son Saif Al-Islam and incarcerated members of the Libyan Fighting Group, designated by the U.N. as an Al Qaeda affiliate. When the Libyan protests began in February, Qaradawi issued a fatwa or religious ruling obligating any Libyan soldier who had the opportunity to do so to assassinate Gaddafi.

Qaradawi, a virulent anti-Semite is often referred to here as the most important leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood, an acknowledgement of his role as the de facto spiritual leader of the movement. In 2004, Qaradawi turned down the offer to lead the Egyptian Brotherhood after the death of the Supreme Guide. Based in Qatar, Sheikh Qaradawi has reportedly amassed substantial wealth through his role as Shari’ah adviser to many important Islamic banks and funds. He is also considered to be the “spiritual guide” for Hamas and his fatwas in support of suicide bombings against Israeli citizens were instrumental in the development of the phenomenon. A recent post has discussed a video compilation of Qaradawi’s extremist statements.

An earlier post discussed Al-Amin Belhaj, last known to be President of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), as playing a role in the Libyan revolution. The MAB is part of the U.K. Muslim Brotherhood.


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