By Libya Herald reporter.
Tripoli 26 June 2015:
The all-important issue of allocating places for Libyans to go on Haj this year has caused . . .[restrict]a serious split between the unrecognised Tripoli government and municipalities supposedly backing it.
The problem arose because Saudi Arabia, which issues Haj visas, recognises only the Beida government and is working its General Authority for Hajj and Umrah to process applications from Libyans to go on the pilgrimage.
Haj this year is from 21 to 26 September. Saudi Arabia has allocated some 5,000 places for Libyans.
In order to ensure than Libyans from all the country could perform Haj this year, the general authority called on municipal councils in the west and south to process names of those in their districts wanting to go to Mecca, and submit them to it.
They have been doing so, but it has infuriated the Tripoli “government” which sees them as betraying it by dealing with Beida.
The local government minister in the Tripoli government, Mohaned Younis, has told the municipalities to stop registering would-be pilgrims. He has also announced that those wanting to go on Haj should apply to the Tripoli government’s Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, not the municipalities.
“Unfortunately for him, the Tripoli ministry can’t organise the Haj because the Saudis have nothing to do with it,” a senior Tripoli official told the Libya Herald.
The issue has even caused splits within Younis’ own ministry with the undersecretary, Mohmed Al-Lafi, taking the view that the Haj, and organising Libyans to go on it, is more important than the country’s political divisions. He is backing the municipalities.
On Monday he had a meeting in Janzour with mayors from the greater Tripoli area to review preparations for the Haj season. Those present, including Janzur mayor Abu Alaid Tuba who acts as General Coordinator for the Greater Tripoli Municipalities, Abu Sleem mayor Ain Zara mayor Abdulwahid Banur, and Abu Sleem mayor Abdulrahman Al-Hamdi, agreed that the pilgrimage should not be politicised or hijacked by political bickering. The municipalities would continue to work in collaboration with the Beida-based general authority despite pressures from Tripoli, they said.
It is reported that over 100,000 Libyas have applied to go n Haj this year.[/restrict]