Libya: Mufti condemns ambassador’s killers, blames government for not standing up to extremists

The Libya Herald reports: In his strongest attack to date of the actions of extremists, Libya’s Grand Mufti, Sheikh Sadeq Al-Ghariani, has issued a fatwa condemning Tuesday’s killing of US Ambassador Chris Stevens along with three other American diplomatic staff and a number of Libya security guards. He said those involved were criminals who were damned by their action.

He also condemned the production of any film, picture or article insulting the Prophet Mohammad or any of the prophets by “extreme fanatics” in the US or elsewhere.

The Prophet Muhammad, Ghariani said, had specifically forbidden the killing of ambassadors and envoys.

He also pointed to a hadith in which the Prophet had said: “He who kills a confederate will not enter paradise.” (A “confederate” is seen as someone who come to a Muslim country and lives peacefully among Muslims.)

The fatwa criminalised anyone taking part in armed attacks without the consent of the legitimate authorities.

What had happened in Benghazi was, it stated, “an attempt to undermine state authority”. It said that all Libyans who cared about their country, anyone who was intelligent, indeed anyone who considered themselves as Muslims should “despise” what had happened.

“Such an act, in fact, is likely to cause severe harm to the higher interests of the country, could unite nations against us, would give others justification to classify us amongst states sponsoring terrorism”, the fatwa stated.

Accusing extremists of twisting and perverting the message of Islam, it added that the attack could “give Islam a bad name, inciting hatred towards us, putting off those who were contemplating Islam”. It could even create a backlash among Muslims.

Ghariani’s ruling also accused the authorities over the killings. The attack was a “clear indication of chaotic security”, it declared. What had happened was the inevitable result of nothing being done in recent months about several violent incidents carried out by armed militias “which used arms without the authority of the state”.

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