Libya's Brotherhood sets up political party

2012-03-03 12:36

Tripoli - Libya's Muslim Brotherhood teamed up with other Islamists on Friday to establish a new political party that is set to be a leading player in the country's first elections since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in a Nato-backed uprising.

Islamist and secular parties will vie in June elections for seats in a national assembly that will draft a new constitution for the North African country.

Political analysts say Libya's Muslim Brotherhood is likely to emerge as the most organised political force and a leading player in the oil-exporting country where Islamists, like all dissidents, were harshly suppressed for 42 years.

Post-uprising elections have already brought Islamists into government in Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco since October and they are likely to perform well in Libya, a socially conservative country where alcohol was already banned before the revolution.

Lamine Belhadj, who heads the committee that is working to set up the new party, told Reuters at a conference on Friday it would bring together Islamists of different stripes.

Independent party

"This is the founding conference of a national, civil party with an Islamic frame of reference. It is being established by the Muslim Brotherhood and many independents who are not affiliated with any Islamic organisations," he said.

Belhadj, a senior official in the National Transitional Council (NTC) and a member of the commission responsible for organising the elections, said the new party had yet to be named and its leaders had not been chosen as consultations were under way between the Brotherhood and other groups.

Abdullah Shamia, an economics professor and member of the Brotherhood since its days as an underground organisation, said the new party would be independent. The Muslim Brotherhood, a broader religious, charitable and social movement, would continue its work separately from the political party.

The rise of Islamist parties at the ballot box has raised concerns among more secular Arabs that new governments will impose more religious restrictions on society or seek to make post-uprising constitutions comply with Islamic law, or sharia.

Libya's NTC has already indicated that the country will be run in accordance with sharia, though the exact place of sharia in the legal system will only be settled once a new constitution is written after elections.

Belhadj said there was little disagreement on the issue of sharia in Libya, whose citizens are virtually all Sunni Muslims.

"All the parties cannot but adopt an Islamic frame of reference because the Libyan people are Muslim," he said.

Libya's Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1949 as an offshoot of the eponymous Egyptian organisation but was banned and unable to hold public meetings in Libya until November 2011. Its members were often forced to keep their membership secret for fear of arrest, torture or imprisonment.

Women in the front lines

Majida al-Fallah, a doctor and Islamist activist, told Reuters she saw women, whatever their political loyalty, playing a more active role after the revolution.

"I believe women began to have a big role from the start of the revolution. We are now pushing women to the front lines rather than keeping them in the back seat," she said.

Asked if she expected religious parties to push for women to be confined to the home or be forced to wear the veil, she said: "I don't think so. This is something that is up to the Muslim woman herself and her choice."

  • Fidel - 2012-03-03 14:16


      Fred - 2012-03-03 16:18

      Starting to see the light I hope Fidel. All Libyans now have the right to express themselves and vote for their leaders, the first time in 42 years.

      Sydney - 2012-03-03 16:46

      Fred you're animal

      Anthony - 2012-03-03 17:03

      Achhhh shame, Sydney also wants to make comment !!!!

      Fred - 2012-03-03 17:11

      Sydney, I'm an animal because I'm happy the Muslim Brotherhood has a voice in the Libyan political process? Clearly you're confused. I'd be an animal if I propagated what Gaddafi was doing, and what Assad is doing now. Understand?

      Fred - 2012-03-03 18:50

      Patrick, they're the same thing. It is highly unlikely that a one-party state will emerge. Libyans fought hard and paid a high price for the right to express themselves freely.

      Sipho - 2012-03-03 20:27

      fred,you are either the dumbest human on this planet or the habitual liar that you appear to be. I guess you are NOT aware that the same MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD has taken over in EGYPT ALSO! you also must not know that the leader of AL-QAEDA,AYMAN AL-ZAWAHIRI is STILL a full fledged card carrying member of the MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD? only a white man and bigot as yourself could still try to justify the illegal regime change in libya by claiminmg that the people voted for this. Ibrahim Bin Qumu who was the niumber two man for the late OSAMA BIN LADIN was NEVER fighting for democracy in libya. mr. qumu is now a HIGH RANKING MEMBER OF THER LIBYAN TNC AND THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD!

      Fred - 2012-03-03 20:58

      Sipho, Egyptian elections will be held in May this year. It's a bit early to say the Muslim Brotherhood "has taken over Egypt". Secondly, the freer world believes in the right of EVERYONE to vote and have a voice in the political process. This is what democracy means. Just like the PAC in South Africa are included in the process, even though their policies would clearly destroy the country and turn it into another Zimbabwe. Or the Oranjestad folk, who would return South Africa to the dark Apartheid past. Which Libyan "people" do you mean? The almost six million Libyans who rose up and demanded the end of Gaddafi's mad, self-serving rule? And which the Arab League, representing up to 350 million Muslims, also demanded? I'm not sure how you come to the conclusion I'm a bigot. Please explain.

      Sipho - 2012-03-03 21:29

      fred...dude stop your damn lying! there was never SIX MILLION PEOPLE who rose up against gadaffi! it was the DARNA BRIGADE,the same AL-QAEDA terrorist who tried to overthrow the govt back in the year 2006 who rose up against gadaffi. this time they had nato to back them because in the year 2008 america learned of the location of OSAMA BIN LADIN and they did not need gadaffi's help anymore! in case your lying self doesnt know, libyans that left america to foolishly help overthrow gadaffi are now NOT being allowed back into america. they have all been placed on the countries no fly list! they have been interrogated in tunisa by the F.B.I after being denied entry into america. and this is what they were told by the F.B.I "RADICAL MUSLIM EXTREMIST HAVE TAKEN OVER THE COUNTRY OF LIBYA,AND WE WANT TO KNOW EVERY ONE WHO YOU ALL MET AND SPOKE WITH IN LIBYA" does that sound like freedom and democracy to you,you damn liar that you are? the west got duped by AL-QAEDA and fools as yourself are too stupid or bigoted to admit it! all nato wanted to do was destabilize the country,now they got what they wished for and they do not like it! would you like to see the article where the idiot libyan ex-pats gave full accounts of their meetings with the F.B.I?

      Anthony - 2012-03-03 21:35

      Sipho, we have heard this disturbing hatred and racism before, word for word, not the slightest doubt, you are thatguyfromthestates. The only thing missing, is your rotten and sick comments to SA farmers!!! And this Al-quada BS, we have also heard, sooo many times from you , word for word. Please instead of emailing from accross the ocean, go and spew out your hatred to your neighbours in New York. I believe you were once before banned from these sites, and I hope they soon kick you off again. Most of your comments are unlawful in SA !!

      Fred - 2012-03-03 21:47

      Sipho, easy buddy. The US is interrogating Al-Quaida suspects. Al-Quaida has declared war on the freer world and has killed hundreds of thousands of civilians with its car bombs and suicide attacks in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa and elsewhere. Democracy has to be protected, like anything else worthwhile. Regarding your Darna Brigade, that was but ONE of Gaddafi's opponents, the one Gaddafi tried to use to scare the so-called West off. The overwhelming majority of Libyans wanted Gaddafi gone. And who could blame them, after 42 years of mad, self-serving rule. Are you accusing Turkey of wanting to destabilize Libya? Very far fetched. I'm not seeing anything else in your message that warrants a reply. Am I missing something?

      Anthony - 2012-03-03 21:53

      Yes Fred, you are, this is our racist 'friend' from the States !!

      Fred - 2012-03-03 21:57

      I remember him! :) :)

      Sipho - 2012-03-03 22:48

      what guy from the states?

  • Anthony - 2012-03-03 16:57

    And than there are still those, with their silly anti Western comments, who want us to believe, that it was the Americans and Europeans. who instigated this Libyan revolt!!!!!!!!

      Sipho - 2012-03-03 20:33

      THE AL-QAEDA LIBYAN REBELS WHO HAVE NOW JOINED FORCES WITH THE EGYPTIAN MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD! THATS WHO INSTIGATED THIS REVOLT! NATO COUNTRIES USED IT AS AN EXCUSE TO IMPLEMENT REGIME CHANGE IN LIBYA TO DESTABILIZE THE COUNTRY! maybe you should use your brain to find out who the muslim brotherhood's members are before you go trumpeting the west for their savage killing of over 50,000 lives under the disgusie of protecting AFRICANS! what white nation on this planet has ever valued african lives and feedoms? the answer is NONE! your lies will have no bearing on what is about to happen in northern africa and the middle east in the near future! they are ALL about to merge to form one country with ISREAL as their target! keep your lies to yourself!

      Anthony - 2012-03-03 20:54

      And you go and spew out your sick and disturbing hatred and racism, to your neighbours in New York. Where you been all this time ? In jail ????

      Fred - 2012-03-03 21:11

      Doesn't make sense what you're saying, Sipho. Everyone knows Nato countries are vehemently opposed to Al-Quaida, far more than they were to the madman Gaddafi. Why would they overthrow Gaddafi to empower Al-Quaida? Clearly, you have a big anti-West chip on your shoulder. Again, the Arab League representing up to 350 million Muslims led the intervention in Libya, not your so-called West. Where do you get your number that Nato killed 50,000 people? Clearly wrong. Nato goes to great lengths to avoid harm to civilians. Unlike Gaddafi who ranted endlessly from his broken balcony, and followed this up with action that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Libyans. It is patently clear to EVERY clear thinking person that it is you who is the racist and bigot. As to your last sentence, more racist violence that thankfully is completely wrong. Israel is by far the strongest, smartest power int he region, and it is supported by the strongest powers on Earth. Why do you think the oppressive dictatorships of the Middle East have done nothing? Unwittingly you're supporting oppressive regimes who have been using the Palestinian people as a decoy, like the Bantustans were used in Apartheid South Africa. Why do you think they don't give the poor Palestinain people the few neighborhoods they need, out of the vast so-called Arab lands, instead of the untold millions of arms and incitement to violence? Think about this, instead of being a dull reactionary.

      Sipho - 2012-03-03 21:37

      Sipho - 2012-03-03 21:50

      I have not done anything against the United States or anything to harm the United States," Tarhuni said after arriving in Portland. "I am very proud to be a Muslim, very proud to be a Libyan, very proud to be an American and very proud to be a human being that wants to have and wants to live in a free society like ours here." It seemed that the agents were concerned about the possibility of an Islamic extremist government taking root in Libya, he said, and that they questioned him as a way to get contacts. that is an american media scaled down version of his statement! he stated the agents told him that islamist HAD TAKEN OVER THE GOVT IN LIBYA"

      Fred - 2012-03-03 21:55

      I'm not clear what your point is. It is well known that extremists are part of Libyan society. It's the same everywhere. In South Africa too. That didn't stop the democratic process here. As said earlier, the freer world holds as one of its highest principles freedom of expression, by everyone. It's the safest way into the future.

      Fred - 2012-03-03 23:41

      Sipho, I think it's way too early to arrive at the conclusion that the Libyan government has been taken over by extreme Islamists like Al-Quaida.

  • Anthony - 2012-03-03 22:02

    "thatguyfromthestates" I am quite sure, that even the ones who comment on these sites with pro assad and pro Iranian posts, will puke at your hatred and racism You have , again, come to the wrong continent, People of ALL races, dispice such SICK behavior !!!

      Sipho - 2012-03-03 22:53

      who is "that guy from the states"? @fred.... read this part again.... seemed that the agents were concerned about the possibility of an Islamic extremist government taking root in Libya, he said, and that they questioned him as a way to get contacts! fred,denial is not the river in egypt! there is NO such thing as DEMOCRACY in ANY islamist radical society! they hate democracy! its doing very well say.........SAUDI ARABIA! correct? doing great in Bahrain!

      Fred - 2012-03-03 23:40

      Love that!! Denial is not the river in Egypt! Hahahaha! Fantastic. I hear you, but humanity, more specifically the people of the Middle East, have decided. They want greater freedom than the dictators were giving them. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, now Syria. This aligns with the freer worlds' values. It aligns with our human spiritual values. Spirit is free, vibrant, alive. Most importantly I think, it will turn off the manipulation of the poor Palestinian people whom have been used by these oppressive dictators to distract their populations. The Syrian and Iranian regimes must be removed.

      Sipho - 2012-03-04 00:15

      fred, the syrian GOVT is NOT going anywhere! you see there is something that is blocking the attempted regime change in syria to destabilize that country,you know what it is called? A RUSSIAN NUCLEAR AIR CRAFT CARRIER that is parked off the coast of syria!! in case you havent heard,russia has already told nato that if they bomb syria to try to overthrow asad then the russians will attack the nato forces to defend him! china probably will to! the iranians can defend themselves! besides america has already told Israel NOT to bomb iran! want to know why? they know as I do that all of those rebellions were caused by islamist and if Israel attacks Iran,then ALL of those newly (democratic as you call them) ISLAMIST COUNTRIES will then invade and bomb ISRAEL!

      Anthony - 2012-03-04 00:28

      "thatguyfromthestates" Even if you tried your damnest, you will not be able to avoid your sick and disturbed hatred and racism. That is just you !! I very much doubt, you can help it. It is soo American and so un African It actually looks like, you copy and paste your posts from last year !!!

      Fred - 2012-03-04 00:37

      Are you happy about that?

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