Libyan Islamists, Secularists in Dueling Rallies on Future of Libyan Legal System

Islamists Burn Copies of Gadhafi's 'Green Book'

Libyan Islamists were reportedly protesting in several cities today, including Benghazi, Sabha and Tripoli, burning copies of Moammar Gadhafi’s ‘green book’ and demanding that the new legal system be based around Sharia religious law.

The Islamist protests were reportedly met by smaller groups of secularists demanding a “civil state” with no religious basis. The National Transitional Council (NTC) has in the past promised that the new legal system would be based on some form of Sharia.

But very little in the way of progress toward any legal system at all has been made in Libya since the NATO-backed revolution, with open-ended detentions of anyone suspected of ties with or even sympathies for the former regime and no signs that any trials will be happening soon.

The Islamist protests are likely at least partially an expression of anger at having been cut out of the NTC’s new cabinet, despite the fact that Islamist factions made up a large portion of the fighters in the rebellion. Exactly what sort of Sharia legal system would emerge in Libya is unclear anyhow, with the Islamist factions split, as in Egypt, among traditional conservatives and more fundamentalist Salafist factions.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of