Libya’s disbanded parly reconvenes, sacks top cleric

LIBYA’s  internationally recognised parliament, declared invalid by the country’s top court, reconvened on Sunday and sacked the key state Muslim cleric, Libyan media reported, fuelling a major power struggle in the country.

The House of Representatives met in the eastern city of Tobruk and voted to remove Sheikh al-Sadeq al-Ghariani, the Grand Mufti, Libya’s top legal Islamic authority.

Most lawmakers who attended the session accused al-Ghariani of inciting terrorism through a series of religious edicts.

Al-Ghariani, who was  appointed in 2012, was quoted as issuing a fatwa calling for jihad (holy war) against pro-government forces led by retired general Khalifa Haftar, who is pursuing a military campaign against Islamist militias.

Al-Ghariani was also accused of praising Islamist militias, who took control of the capital Tripoli in July and forced the elected legislature and its government out of the city.

Lawmaker Mohammed al-Burghathi told al-Wasat that al-Ghariani, 71, had failed to show up on Sunday for a parliamentary investigation.

The parliament also decided to dissolve Dar al-Ifta, the Libyan institution responsible for advising the country’s Muslim majority on religious affairs, according to al-Wasat.

On Thursday, the Supreme Constitutional Court declared the House of Representatives, elected in June, to be dissolved. The ruling was a victory for the competing Islamist-backed, self-installed government based in Tripoli.

But the House of Representatives rejected the ruling, saying it had been taken under the threat of arms.

Libya, mired in violence for months, has at present two rival parliaments and governments struggling for power.

The North African country has experienced in recent months its worst inter-militia fighting since the ousting of longtime dictator Moamer Gaddafi in 2011.

Effective power has largely rested with the many militias that appeared during the anti-Gaddafi uprising, and that have now been lining up behind one or other of the two rival factions. – SAPA/DPA