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Libya: The Mosque and the State

By Konye Obaji Ori
Posted on Thursday, 5 December 2013 10:31

Two years after the Western-backed revolution that ousted Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s interim government has upheld Islamic law as the basis of all regulations.

Hardline Islamists long oppressed under the late Muammar Gaddafi’s regime have since risen in political clout and appear poised to shape the country’s political future.

Islamic law is the source of legislation in Libya. All state institutions need to comply with this

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which played a key role in deposing Gaddafi while allying itself with the National Transitional Council, was banned worldwide by the UN 1267 Committee.

Members of the alleged al-Qaeda-affiliated group participated in the Libyan revolution under the name of Libyan Islamic Movement, and later comprised the Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction party (MBJC).

The MBJC is now seen as having achieved its fundamental goals in the north African country.

“Islamic law is the source of legislation in Libya. All state institutions need to comply with this,” the GNC said in a statement after the vote.

A special committee is expected to review all existing laws to guarantee they comply with Islamic law.

The vote comes amidst political unrest and tensions amongst moderates, secularists and conservatives.

Politicians and reformists have had aggressive deliberations over the role of religion in Libya’s new democracy.

Libya’s secular-leaning National Front Alliance has not been able to negotiate a new constitution that keeps Libya progressive.

The GNC vote comes ahead of plans to form a 60-member committee that would draft the new constitution.

According to the Libyan assembly, state institutions will especially be primary subjects to Islamic law including Libya’s financial sector.

The MBJC insists that Libya’s financial systems will be guided by Islamic finance regulation, which are based on religious principles that avoid interest and pure speculation.

The rise of LIFG and the MBJC in Libya is similar to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. But, the fate of the LIFG in a fast changing Arab world is yet to be seen.

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