Libyan Islamists rally to demand sharia-based law
Hundreds of Islamists rallied on Friday to demand that Libya be governed by Muslim sharia law in what organisers called a response to the emergence of secular political parties after the fall of Muammar Gaddafi’s dictatorship last year.
Organised by Islamist political and religious groups, the mostly young and bearded men holding up copies of the Koran demonstrated at squares in the capital Tripoli, the eastern city of Benghazi and in Sabha in the southern desert.
In Tripoli’s Algeria Square, Islamists burned copies of the “Green Book,” Gaddafi’s eccentric handbook on politics, economics and everyday life, to underline that the Koran should be the country’s main source of legislation.
By contrast, a group of moderates who have occupied the square for more than a month chanted: “We want a civil state.”
Islamist demonstrators encompassed members of the conservative Muslim Brotherhood and harder-line Salafis, who both back strict versions of Islam, and relative moderates who prefer a civil state simply inspired by sharia.
The protests offered a glimpse into Libya’s political future in which Islamist and secularist parties are expected to vie for seats of a national assembly scheduled to be elected in June to draft a constitution for the North African country.