On May 26th, the residents of Tripoli and other areas under the control of the General National Congress (GNC) and their military wing, Libya Dawn (a coalition of Islamic militias), discovered that they were now living in a “Muslim State”. The GNC – who still refuses to recognize the elected and international recognized House of Representatives based in Beida (Eastern Libya) – has amended Article No. 1 of the Constitutional Declaration of August 2011 and declared Libya to be a “Muslim State” with Sharia law as the source of legislation.
Since then, I have discussed the issue with many locals and most were surprised and saddened by the declaration of the GNC. While I sympathized with their disappointment that Tripoli will now be governed by Sharia law, I was surprised by the extent they were shocked by the declaration of the GNC. Wasn’t the writing on the wall?
Since the Libya Dawn military alliance defeated the more secular militias for the control of Tripoli in August 2014, anybody who has been following the policies of the local authorities could easily determine that the city has slowly been drifting towards a “Muslim State” and that its official declaration was only a matter of time.
To start, there has been an increase in the number of attacks on religious sites, such as the desecration of the Christian cemetery, the destruction of the Sheikh Sayd Sufi shrine and the recent bombing of the Quds mosque (also believed to be a Sufi shrine), all under the watchful eye of the GNC. Second, there is the continued removal of statues depicting people or animals – because they could lead to some form of idolatry – across the city such as The Bride of the Sea (who was finally removed after an attempt to destroy her failed) and the statue of Omar Mukhtar (the Libyan hero who fought the Italians from 1913 to 1931).
Next, there is the recent forced segregation of Fursia park, which is now open to “women only” for two days a week and to “men only” on the other days. This new policy is preventing families from being able to enjoy the park together. Finally, the school curriculum will be changed and children will now be taught a “more radical view of Islam”, which will include the value of jihad and the importance of punishing those who do not follow Islam. There are also unconfirmed reports that the University of Tripoli will be ordered to segregate in the autumn, forcing men and women to attend classes separately.
In his recent article, “Obama’s Policies to Empower ISIS Exposed“, Raymond Ibrahim concludes that “For those able to read the plain writing on the wall, the end game between Obama and the Islamic State was always easy to discern.” The same can be said regarding the current situation in Tripoli. With all the small, but constant changes that have been imposed on the city since the Islamists’ victory last summer, the GNC’s end game was always easy to discern for those able to read the plain writing on the wall.