By Sami Zaptia.
Tripoli, 20 July:
The head of the Supreme Fatwa Council grand mufti, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani called on the newly elected independent members of the General National Congress (GNC) to be ‘independent’ and honour the bases upon which they were elected.
Giving the Friday prayer sermon broadcast live on al-Wataniya TV today from a mosque in Tajura, a suburb on the eastern outskirts of Tripoli, Ghariani called upon the independent members-elect of the GNC to remain as a group and resist being broken up by other parties vying for their support.
He said that since they stood as independent candidates and campaigned and advertised themselves as independents, and their supporters voted for them as independents – they should remain so.
The Grand Mufti was alluding to the preliminary results of the 200 seat Libyan General National Congress elections which reserved 80 seats for political entities/parties and 120 seats for independent candidates.
No one political entity could gain an overall majority and hence the need for political parties to horse-trade with the independent members to gain a majority and have the controlling hand in picking the Prime Minister, the cabinet and maybe the constitutional ‘committee of 60’.
Some independents have made no secret of their ideology during the campaign and hence the public will not be surprised when they vote with a particular party. However, it is believed that there are some so called ‘independents’ that were all along proxy candidates for some of the parties. It is this lack of transparency and maybe duplicity that Ghariani was irked by.
The nation and analysts wait to understand the leanings of the majority of these independents. Most of them are relative unknowns with no track record in public office or politics.
Analysts wait to see if enough of them will side with Mahmoud Jibril’s middle of the road National Forces Alliance (NFA) which won 39 seats, or whether the majority will support Mohamed Sawan’s more Islamist oriented Justice and Construction party which has won 17 seats.
‘God’s word is supreme’
On the issue of the bases of Libya’s soon to be drafted constitution, Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani was adamant. ‘God’s word is supreme. The word and the will of the people is not supreme. If all the people and the popular will agreed unanimously on something that contradicted the word of god, then all the people are wrong and the word of god is right’.
Much has been made of the wording of the constitution viz-a-viz the role of Islam. There is no doubt of the prominent role of Islam in Libya and its forthcoming constitution. However, the more Islamist oriented parties such as the Justice and Construction party wish Islam to be the source for Libya’s new constitution.
In reality, while there is no doubting Libya’s Islamic personality, it has been historically a moderate (Maliki) Sunni interpretation of Islam. While the Gaddafi state was very liberal in enforcing Sharia law, it never went so far as to allow the official sale of alcohol or the opening of bars, night clubs or discotheques.
Sheikh Sadik Al-Ghariani is clear in his numerous pronouncements since the February 17 Revolution that Libya needs to embrace Sharia law, refusing the secular notion that state and religion are separate. It is this notion of how intermingled should the new modern progressive Libyan political state be with Sharia and Islam.
It is a complex issue, probably beyond most average Libyans’ religious understanding and an issue that most Libyans have never had to think, let alone decide upon. [/restrict]