Friday, September 12, 2014
(Tripoli) The Islamists have taken control over Libya's capital Tripoli. Christians hardly dare to leave their homes: "We celebrate Holy Mass as in the times of the great persecutions."
The government and parliament have fled to Tobruk. The Libyan Capitol has sunk into chaos: "Since the West has militarily intervened, armed bands have the say."
The end of August saw the Islamist Misrata Brigade, the Libyan Dawn, capture the international airport In Tripoli. Parliament and government then tool flight. The security situation in the Libyan capital since then has been a "nightmare". "Defenseless, above all are the Christians, says Pater Amado Baranquel for the Catholic News Service.
Celebrating Mass in Secret
The Franciscan priest was a pastor for Philippine guest workers in Libya before the war. Their number before the war was about 13,000. Today he cares for all of the Christians. "For two weeks Christians have hardly dared to leave their homes any more," says Pater Amado. They are afraid of being abused or even killed. "There is no rule of law any more in the city. We don't know who might protect us or come to help us. All Holy Masses have to be celebrated in private in secret and private homes, as in the old times during the great persecutions," is how the Franciscan described the difficult situation.
In Libya there are daily conflicts between Islamists and forces loyal to the government. There are check points on the streets. Before getting to the control point you don't exactly know which side set it up. "Who can we trust? Whom can we ask for help? The question will remain open until we know who will take over the government."
"The Church Stands by Her People"
The situation in Bengazi, the second largest city in Libya, which is controlled by Islamists, is no different. "The Church stands with Her people," exclaims Sylvester Margi, Apostolic Vicar of Bengazi for the Catholic Church, besides the Orthodox Copts and the Greek Orthodox who have excavated their priests from the city. "The Catholic Church has decided to take the religious sisters out of Bengazi into safety." The danger of rape is too great, says the Apostolic Vicar, who is remaining behind in the city.
"We don't know what the future will bring. At the moment there are two governments, two warring parties and countless associated militias and battle groups. nicht, was die Zukunft bringen wird. There are at present not intermediaries," says Pater Amado.
The 115 Parliament members live with their families on a Greek luxury liner about 1.500 Kilometers from the Capitol of Tripoli. They seem prepared to go further into exile. Neither US-Präsident Obama, NATO or the Inited Nations, who toppled the previous president Muammar al-Gaddafi, and simultaneously plummeted the land into it's current chaos, show the least interest to change the situation. The same goes for the EU, despite Libya being a point of departure for most of the immigrants who are attempting to get to the EU through Lampadusa.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
Bild: Asia news
Trans: Tancred email@example.com
Sunday, December 8, 2013
(Tripoli) Sharia is the basis and "source" of all law in the North African Mediterranean state Libya. A committee will now consider all applicable laws and regulations to determine whether they are in accordance with Islamic law.Two and a half years after the outbreak of the "Arab Spring", the results are devastating: a torn country in which various islamist groups and clans have controlled whole regions and now has also saw the introduction of Sharia.The Libyan Parliament decided last Wednesday the introduction of Islamic law. The Sharia have to submit to all laws and regulations of the country. Therefore, the Parliament set up a commission to review all legal standards for compliance with the Sharia. Provisions that are not compliant with Shari'ah must be abolished or replaced.
A country in chaos
Two and a half years after the outbreak of the "Arab Spring" and little more than two years after the assassination of "revolutionary leader" Muammar Gheddafi by the rebels supported by NATO, the oil-rich Mediterranean country is in the depths of chaos. Several armed militias, independent of the State militias parts of the territory under their control. They fight each other and the state. The real power has the Grand Syrtis in hand. The transitional government has already declared Sharia as the basis of the entire law after the fall of Gaddafi. Now this has been officially adopted by Parliament.
The new law shows that the Islamists who were suppressed by the old regime, are becoming an ever more dominant factor in Libya. The Islamist militias have forced the Parliament to introduce Sharia with violence and threats to the government, which can hardly exercise authority in the state, hoping thereby to appease the most extreme groups of Islamists. What is meant is mainly Ansar al-Sharia , the "followers of Islamic law," a Salafist militia which is connected to Al-Qaeda. An offshoot of Ansar al-Sharia exists in Tunisia, Yemen, Egypt, Mali, Morocco and Mauritania.
"Sharia is the Law"
Mohammed Al-Zaroug of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood Party of Justice and Construction declared contentedly: "Sharia is the law. Now no one can say that the Parliament does not work with Shari'ah." Ibrahim Al-Gharyani of the. Alliance of National Forces said: "The law already contains hardly any laws that contradict Islamic law." The Muslim Brotherhood holds 17 of 80 seats in parliament, the Alliance has 39 seats.
Also on Wednesday, the Parliament appointed 60 members of a commission to draft a new constitution for Libyan.Christians, who can hardly move freely in the government-controlled capital of Tripoli in Libya. In the rest of the country they are fair game.
Text: Giuseppe Nardi
image: As Sabhab (screenshot)
image: As Sabhab (screenshot)
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org
Sunday, March 3, 2013
Libya (Benghazi) Islamists do continue to hunt for Christians working in the North African country. They are summarily accused of proselytism. The recent incident takes place in the Mediterranean city of Benghazi, the capital of Cyrenaica. In the second largest city of Libya 48 Egyptian Christians were arrested, as Asianews reported. These are Orthodox Copts, who were reported by Libyan Islamists. The Christians, merchants and traders who visited the market of Benghazi, are alleged to have conducted religious images and representations of themselves. A video seized from the police shows how Christians are being held in a small room of Salafists. They appear physically exhausted. Many wounds and abrasions are visible. The Islamists have shaved all Christians bald.
The incident has caused displeasure among the inhabitants of Benghazi. Only in October, it had risen against the Salafi militias accused of perpetrating the attack on the American consulate, where the U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed.
The authorities reported on Thursday that Egyptian Christians had not been arrested for religious reasons, but for violation of immigration laws. Only in mid-February, four Christians were arrested, an Egyptian, a South African, a Swede and a South Korean with U.S. citizenship. They are accused of having spread Bibles and other Christian materials.
The spread of Islamic extremism is affecting the Catholic orders, which have been active in part for a long time on the territory of modern Libya. They have built hospitals and work with elderly people. Only in January the Islamists have succeeded in forcing the Franciscan Sisters of the Child Jesus of Barce and the Ursuline Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Beida, to leave the country. In October 2012, the Sisters of the Holy Family of Spoleto were forced to leave Libya due to the constant threats and attacks by the Islamists, as Father Dominique Rézeau reported.
"Not a day goes by without Christian graves being desecrated and destroyed," lamented Bruno Daimasso to the magazine Tempi, the gardener of the Italian cemetery in Tripoli. "The remains of the Christians are torn from their graves and scattered in the cemetery," as Jeune Afriquereported. "The Libyan authorities have arrived, took photos and did nothing," said Daimasso.
According to Dominique Rézeau there are officially some 200,000 Christians who lived in Libya before the fall of Gaddafi, and three percent of the population, since the so-called Arab Spring, "only a few are thousand left." As the Vicar Apostolic Bishop Giovanni Innocenzo Martinelli confirmed, the churches in the Kyreinaika are indeed still open, the situation for Christians is however "very critical”.