The Brotherhood in Egypt managed to overthrow Mubarak, and the LIFG did the same in Libya, backed by American and European military intervention. Had the Brotherhood or LIFG tried to go it alone, they never would have received Western backing, but by forming coalitions with more liberal figures they secured Western support for their revolutions.
“Revisionist Studies of the Concepts of Jihad, Verification, and Judgment of People,” which Sheikh Hamza enthusiastically endorsed, was not quite what the West thought it was. It was a theocratic document that affirmed the supremacy of Sharia and of Islamic scholars as the proper interpreters of Sharia. The LIFG appeared to suspend its local conflict with Kaddafi, but it did not suspend the global conflict with the West– and two years later it provided the warm bodies for the revolt against Kaddafi.
Kaddafi and the West were tricked into a Muslim Brotherhood ploy that offered up a “kinder, gentler Jihad,” freed hundreds of LIFG terrorists from prison and put the movement on a path to seizing power through a coalition revolt. The same strategy behind successful Arab Spring revolts in Tunisia and Egypt.
The appointment of Sheikh Hamza is the opening round of the Islamization of Libya. Hamza enjoys the confidence of the LIFG and of many of the old Kaddafi associates who are still running the country. That makes him the ideal intermediary for fully Islamizing Libya without setting off too many alarm bells.
Laws on the status of women are an easy target, being unpopular with Muslim men, particularly tribal leaders who ignore them anyway. Islamic corporal punishments will spread terror under the guise of Sharia, serving the same function that they did after the Iranian revolution. And Islamic banks will build up the wealth of Brotherhood members to give them the privileged position that they enjoy in Egypt and throughout much of the Middle East.
Sheikh Hamza’s bland title of Minister of Religious Affairs belies his real power in a state where religious law is the law of the land. Libyan Islamists understand that the United States is already wary of the presence of the LIFG and that Western support and money is crucial to getting the country back on its feet again. Like the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, they are willing to be the power behind the throne so long as the throne is built on Islamic law.
“Gaddafi could change laws at whim, cherry-picking elements of sharia law. Professor Fas’s new role will include ensuring schools teach a ‘correct interpretation’ of sharia law.” The Australian’s article absurdly treats this as a positive development. What this actually means is that Sheikh Hamza Abu Fas will ensure that schools teach the interpretation of Islamic law approved of by the Islamists and he has already begun cracking the whip.
The supremacy of Islamic law means that those who interpret it also control the society that follows it. With Hamza in the driver’s seat, the future of Libya belongs to the Islamists.
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