By Tom Little.
Tripoli, 30 December:
Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani spoke on Saturday of the benefits of a political isolation law, saying . . .[restrict]that Libya was on the road to becoming a “modern state”, but that it faced many challenges and difficulties.
He made the comments in the opening speech of a day-long conference, “The constitution – hopes and prospects”, organised by the Fatwa Office .
Ghariani spoke of the need to remove those who worked in the upper echelons of Qaddafi’s regime from current government and judicial positions. He said that the move was necessary to help rid the country of financial and administrative corruption.
The General National Congress (GNC) was reported to have approved the “isolation law” four days ago, but has yet to submit a draft law detailing how it will be applied and who will be affected by it.
Ghariani, in his speech, also listed a number of other problems facing the country, reiterating statements made by Prime Minister Ali Zeidan, that Libya’s borders and illegal immigration are causes for concern.
He also said that “the activities of foreign intelligence services” could destabilise the country, and claimed that the “Iranian Shia have begun to prepare the establishment of their schools inside Libya in all confidence”.
Although he did not elaborate on these statements, or give any specific instances of either, Ghariani has said previously that he believes Iran is trying to convert young Libyans to Shia Islam.
Ghariani was criticised on social media websites yesterday, after he issued a fatwa calling on residents of Benghazi not to attend a protest organised in the city on Friday.
Some critics on social networking sites in recent days suggested that the Mufti was taking too keen an interest in politics, although in the past, Libya’s Fatwa Office has also been criticised for being too distant from real people’s concerns.
Photographs were also posted on Twitter yesterday, apparently showing that activists had hacked Ghariani’s personal website, where they wrote “To the youth of Benghazi, from the youth of Al-Beida”.
At the conference on the constitution on Saturday, Ghariani’s deputy Dr Ghaith Al-Fakhry, used his speech to repeat the Fatwa Office’s belief that the new constitution should be based on the Sharia. [/restrict]