By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 25 November 2013:
A representative of the Libya-based extremist group Ansar Al-Sharia said today in a live television . . .[restrict]interview that those who did not comply with Sharia Law would be fought and killed.
During the telephone interview on Libya Al-Ahrar TV, Derna-based militant Mahmoud Al-Barassi declared that anybody against Ansar Al-Sharia was an enemy and said the group would “fight people who seek democracy, secularism, and the French.” He added that the group took its legitimacy from Allah.
He spoke out against the Libyan authorities and said that Libyans “know very well that they chose the wrong people” to rule the country. He called the government, the General National Congress (GNC) and the Libyan Armed Forces “apostates.”
Barassi also accused Prime Minister Ali Zeidan of “knowing nothing about Islam”. He added that the revolution was fought by Libyans while Zeidan was “living among women in a foreign country”.
He was speaking following the clashes last night and this morning in Benghazi between Ansar Al-Sharia and the city’s Saiqa Brigade Special Forces which left at least nine dead and up 50 more injured.
The statement, and the air-time Barrasi was given, provoked an angry response from Benghazi residents and across the country. Feelings are running high against groups that threaten the stability and future of Libya, after the bloody clashes between peaceful protestors and armed militias in Tripoli’s Gharghour district, when 48 people were killed some hundreds injured.
Shortly after the interview with Barassi, former first Deputy President of the GNC Juma Ateega was interviewed by telephone on the same channel. He said Barassi’s comments underlined the seriousness of the threat that Ansar Al-Sharia posed to Libya.
Barassi had, however, given a clear message to all Libyans about who was responsible for the assassinations in Benghazi, Ateega said.
He added that Barassi was “a victim of the Islamist groups in Libya” and suggested that he should read more abut Islam since he appeared to be merely repeating what he had learned.
The belligerent comments by Barassi are thought to have caused huge embarrassment to Ansar Al-Sharia, which is now believed to be trying to mount damage-limitation action. [/restrict]