By Jamal Adel and Salem Ali.
Tripoli/Tunis, 16 December 2014:
A prominent Misrata cleric who is alleged to have made disparaging remarks about . . .[restrict]people in the east of the country has been strongly criticised by the League of Libyan Ulema.
In a speech in a Misrata mosque commenting on the attack on the oil port in Sidra, Sheikh Salim Jaber, originally from Zliten but who was highly respected in Benghazi for his support during the revolution, is alleged to have encouraged people to go to fight the “ignorant and Bedouin people of Cyrenaica” promising them paradise if they did so. He reportedly described Cyrenaicans as bedouins fit only to herd sheep.
The reported comments have sparked an angry debate on social media with Cyrenicans and others expressing forthright views about the sheikh.
In a statement issued today, the League of Libyan Ulema, which represents mainstream Islam in Libya and comprises Maliki and Sufi as well as Ibadi scholars, criticised what it called Jaber’s exploitation of religion and meddling in regional issues for political purposes.
“Raising sheep is an honourable occupation that our Prophet Mohamed himself did. There is no shame at all in this, ” said the statement.
It also urged Muslims to avoid castigating and deprecating other people, quoting the Koranic verse: “Not a word does he utter but there is a sentinel by him, ready [to note it]” (50:18) – that whatever anyone says is recorded and will be rewarded accordingly. [/restrict]