(Author: Libyan Gazette Editorial Staff)
In a Television statement on Sunday, Libya’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani called on the Libyan soldiers fighting in Sirte to not stop until they finished liberating the city from the threat of ISIS and then move on to Benghazi to attack General Khalifa Haftar’s forces.
“ISIS militants are criminal and corrupt people, and their actions have nothing to do with Islam,” he stressed.
Sheikh Sadiq Al-Ghariani has been the top religious cleric in Libya since February 2012, after being appointed by the National Transitional Council, Libya’s post revolutionary government. He was a supporter of the 2011 Libyan uprising against ousted dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Al-Ghariani, who is the head of Dar al-Ifta (Libya’s fatwa house), made the statement on his Tanasah Television channel.
He urged the Libyan armed forces, consisting mostly of fighters from Misrata, to rid the coastal city of Sirte from ISIS militants and that it is their religious duty to do so.
Al-Ghariani then called on the Libyan army to head to Benghazi after ISIS was defeated because the “real battle in Libya is the one against Haftar. Only when he is defeated will Libya find security and stability.”
Al-Ghariani, who opposed Gaddafi’s oppressive regime, has repeatedly compared Haftar to the former dictator and has expressed his fear that, if left unchecked, his self-proclaimed “Libyan National Army,” which is comprised of a large number of former Gaddafi loyalists, would further divide the country and move the war from the east to the west.
The Grand Mufti has made similar statements against Haftar in the past, and in February advised the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR), the parliament in the east who appointed Haftar the head of their armed forces, to renounce the rogue General for being an obstacle to national reconciliation.