[QODLink]
Africa
Muslim Brotherhood forms party in Libya
Islamist group declares the creation of Justice and Development Party to be led by a former politcal prisoner.
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2012 00:17
Mohamed Sowan, a former political prisoner, was chosen to lead the Muslim Brotherhood Party [AFP]

The Muslim Brotherhood in Libya has announced that it formed a political party after six decades in the shadows of deposed leader Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.

The Islamist group declared the creation of the Justice and Development Party on Saturday in the absence of laws laying out a formal process for the establishment of political parties.

Mohamed Gaair, the Brotherhood's spokesman, said the group has representation in more than 18 cities across the country, and that more than 1,400 members attended a meeting in Tripoli a day earlier to declare the formation of the political party.

They chose as party leader Mohamed Sowan, a native of the city of Misrata, which saw some of the worst fighting in the civil war that brought down Gaddafi and has since become distrustful of authority based elsewhere in the country.

Sowan worked as a hotel manager and was a political prisoner under the Gaddafi regime for eight years until 2006.

Islam source of legislation

Gaair said that the Brotherhood has had a presence in Libya since 1949, but that many of its leaders were jailed under Gaddafi or exiled.

Several prominent former rebel leaders fighting to oust Gaddafi were associated with the movement, but the group does not have any officials in the transitional government.

Now, the Brotherhood is considered the most organised movement in Libya to have nationwide support. Supporters include wealthy businessmen who returned to the country after last year's civil war ended, opening up civil society groups and charitable funds throughout the war-ravaged country.

Gaair said the group aims to establish a just and developed society based on religious values.

“Our first main goal is to work on security and stability,'' he said.

“We are still a new founded party, but we will work on the basis of Islamic principles and that doesn't mean the shallow meaning of religion most people think of like banning women from leaving home. This is not rational.''

In October, Libya's rulers said that Islamic law would be the main source of legislation.

The influence of the Brotherhood and related Islamist groups has surged following last year's Arab Spring uprisings. In Egypt, where the movement was founded in 1928, its affiliated political party has taken around half the seats in parliament.

Elections have swayed heavily in favour of Islamic movements in Tunisia and Morocco as well.

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.