By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 18 October 2014:
Asked to comment about the fatwas or religious edicts or rulings issued by Libya’s highest religious . . .[restrict]cleric, the Grand Mufti Sadik Al-Ghariani, Prime Minister Abdullah Thinni called him old, grey, shameless and politically motivated.
In a surprising, unrestrained outburst by the Prime Minister against the Grand Mufti, a position that is usually revered in Muslim society, Thinni could not hide his contempt for the controversial Grand Mufti.
“Certainly when we talk about religious edicts or rulings (fatwas) they are issued by one person in Libya: Grand Mufti Dr Sadik Al-Ghariani who, unfortunately, is a man who has passed the age of 70 and gray invades the hair of his head”, he said, implicitly referring to the accusation made by previous Prime Minister Ali Zeidan that the Grand Mufti might have lost his sanity.
Thinni’s contempt for the Mufti stems from the unashamed public political support the Mufti has been giving to the Islamist political stream in Libya and for fatwas to fight against the anti-Islamist (and Pro-House of Representatives) political bloc in Libya, including the Zintani-led militias in western Libya and the General Hafter-led bloc in the east.
In theory, a Grand Muft is supposed to be politically neutral, representing all Libyan people. Equally, men of religion usually call for ceasefires during violent conflicts and an end to armed conflicts, rather than supporting one group against another.
“But he is not ashamed of issuing fatwas that even people the who are non-literate and not learned in religious studies are aware that these fatwas are not consistent with the Islamic religion – but are rulings that serve specific political purposes”, added the Prime Minister in the television interview yesterday.
“Thank God the Libyan people are conscious and aware of these fatwas. No Libyan citizen relies on these edicts nor do they mean anything at all to them. These edicts concern the Grand Mufti personally and those around him. Any person who issue such fatwas bears their responsibility on Judgment Day because these fatwas are falsehoods and unjust .
“We have never heard at all in the world of a Mufti of a state that preaches of killing. This has never happened in history. This Mr Sadik Al-Ghariani preaches fatwas in public and even those who do not know anything of religion cannot accept and do not believe in them and, therefore, these rulings are rejected by the Libyan people, who know right from wrong.”
Libyans “are Muslims by their nature and follow the (moderate) doctrine of the Imam Malik [one of the four main interpreters of Islamic jurisprudence] and all are all Sunnis and we do not have any other sects in order that the Grand Mufti needs to preach to us with other fatwas”, concluded Thinni. [/restrict]