A number of diplomats, intellectuals and bloggers have shown outright condemnation and rage directed at the Higher Committee of Fatwa (HCF) of the Interim Government in east Libya following a controversial fatwa regarding the followers of Ibadism, the widespread Islamic doctrine in Libya’s Amazigh towns, as "Khawarij and infidels."
On its official website, the HCF said the followers of Ibadism have gone astray, in response to a question on whether it was legitimate in Islam to pray behind an Ibadi Imam.
“Ibadism is a perverted version of Islam and it is not acceptable by Allah to pray behind them; its followers have no dignity,” it further explained.
Ibadism is an Islamic doctrine dominant in Oman, but also found in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and east Africa.
The National Commission for Human Rights in Libya (NCHRIL) denounced the takfiri fatwa, saying in a statement that such fatwas undermine the national security and social peace. It called on the Religious Affairs Committee of House of Representatives to intervene immediately to stop this “dangerous escalation,” which put the lives of people on danger.
The NCHRIL accused the Higher Committee of Fatwa of inciting violence and practicing religious and intellectual terrorism.
Among the long list of those angered by the Fatwa is Libya's former representative to the United Nations, Ibrahim Dabbashi. He called on the HCF to retract the takfiri fatwa immediately and urged the Interim Government to dissolve it if it failed to comply.
No edits to the fatwa have been made and no formal apology has been issued by either the HCF or the Interim Government regarding the matter until now.
In contrast, Tripoli-based Fatwa House reposted a fatwa it made in 2015 regarding Ibadism to falsify the takfiri fatwa of the HCF. The fatwa called for coexistence between the Sunnis and Ibadis and urged them to pray behind each other and spread love among their communities.
The Higher Committee of Fatwa in east Libya is made up of a group of radicals known as “Madkhalis.” One of its prominent members, Hamid Abu Dwairah, was a former Jihadist in Afghanistan. The Madkhalis are followers of Saudi cleric Rabea Madkhali. Their influence in the east is on the rise. They formed their own brigades, which are now fighting alongside Dignity Operation forces.
(Additional Writing by Abdullah Ben Ibrahim)
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