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HRW denounces fatwa against Ibadi Madhab

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LIBYAPROSPECT – London

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said, on Thursday, that Dar Al-Ifta of the Interim Government “should repeal a discriminatory religious edict accusing Ibadi faith followers in Libya of deviance and adherence to an infidel doctrine.”

The HRW added that the Interim Government that linked to Dar Al-Ifta and the House of Representatives (HoR) “have yet to respond publicly to this edict.”

It is worth mentioning that Dar Al-Ifta said that the Ibadi madhab is a misguided and aberrant group. It added that they are Kharijites with secret beliefs and infidels without dignity. The term (Kharijites) is used to describe the Muslims who rebelled against the Caliphate in the early ages of Islam.

The deputy Middle East and North Africa director at HRW, Eric Goldstein, said that the “religious authorities in Libya should stop pandering to extremists by castigating minorities in incendiary language.” Goldstein added that “the Interim Government should repudiate this dangerous edict and affirm that all faiths and sects deserve tolerance and equal protection.”

It is significant to clarify that the Ibadi Muslims population in Libya is around 400,000, according to the Libyan Tamazight Congress. The Ibadi faith is practised by Libyans in Nafusa Mountains, Tripoli, and the city of Zuwara.

The HRW referred to the Tamazight Supreme Council, which decried the edict, as did the Libyan Tamazight Congress.

It is worth mentioning that many Libyan writers, academics, activists, politicians, and journalists responded to the fatwa, stating that they “categorically rejected the sectarian religious discourse, which divides Libyans and strives to disseminate hate speech.”

The HRW said that “given widespread insecurity across the country and lack of central authority, there is a real risk of persecution and attacks against Ibadi faith members, who can be easily singled out and targeted, no matter where they are located.”

The HRW stated that the Interim Government’s religious authority considers Dar Al-Ifta as “one of its divisions, and pays the salaries of staff and committee members.” It added that the army of the HoR that led by General Khalifa Haftar and the HoR that headed by Ageela Saleh support the Interim Government.