magazine (http://www.islam.org.au), April - May 1999]
Interview with the Spokesperson for
The Fighting Islamic Group
in Libya - Brother Omar Rashed
Translation By Keysar Trad
|Qaddhafi is distinguished indeed as he is suffocating every Islamic activity, by executions, mass arrests, house demolitions and collective punishments. He has even innovated a specific day for hangings and executions of students inside the universities, this being the 7th of April every year|
|The Libyan economy is witnessing a great expansion in the black market, and a monopoly of the regime and its friends over the production of petrol and the wasting of this resource in a manner that does not contribute to any growth in the country.|
|Rejection is the predominant feeling amongst all classes of Libyan society, meaning the rejection of Qaddhafi, his regime and policies. However, the Libyan people -in general- have not passed beyond the stage of sentiments to the stage of action|
What are the basic principles and teachings on which the Fighting Islamic Group is established and what are its goals over the medium to long term?
All gratitude is due to Allah, and may Allah send peace and blessings upon His messenger Muhammad.
The Fighting Islamic Group (FIG) is a group with an Islamic creed established and focusing on the creed of the Sunnah and Jama'ah. From this creed, the FIG takes its principles, teachings and values. This forms and clarifies the reality of the message which the FIG is carrying and for which it is striving. I believe that we can summarise the matter in the phrase: "There is no god except Allah, Muhammad is messenger of Allah", with its correct meaning, applications and requirements, forming our principles, teachings, and focus.
As for the goals of the FIG, the long-term goal is "change".
We as Muslims, and as an Ummah distinguished from other com, with its own creed, law, tradition, culture, and history, to this poiin time must be regarded as deprived through force, tyranny, oppression, conspiracies and plots, from being able to live in accordance with the requirements of our creed. We are deprived and scattered with no weight, no power and no strength. One of the greatest indicants of this is the slicing of a piece from our land and the granting of this land to the Jews, while we are not strong enough to do anything.
When this is our reality, it becomes a certainty that our long-term goal is change.
We want to change this oppressive reality which clashes, conflicts and contradicts with our creed, our hopes and our ambitions as an Ummah.
As for the medium term goals, these are stage plans and tactics that serve our strategy; they are specific matters that submit to the situation and the catalysts that effect it. They all work as continuous co-ordinated steps that will lead us in the end to the operation of change inshaa' Allah.
The despot Qaddhafi has ruled the Libyan people with iron and fire, what are the policies that distinguish him from other despots who are imposing on our Islamic world?
I believe that the despots imposing on our Islamic world are following the same policies in general, they are all confronting Islam - or more correctly - confronting any reformative Islamic movement; they are all pharaohs who have no conscience when it comes to dealing with Muslims.
With respect to the Islamic presence and Islamic activity in society in general, Qaddhafi is distinguished indeed as he is suffocating every Islamic activity, dealing with the issue from its roots without distinction. Thus, we find many of his policies to conform greatly to the policies that are being practiced by the Zionists in occupied Palestine. Examples of this are the executions, mass arrests, house demolitions and collective punishments. Qaddhafi is also distinguished through the fact that he has innovated a specific day for hangings and executions of students inside the universities, this being the 7th of April every year. On this day, he hangs some of the students who oppose his regime in the centre of the university in front of thousands of other students, in order to discourage opposition and plant fear and despair in the hearts of the students.
However, if an Islamic movement formed any real danger to the existence of any regime in the Islamic world, it would be exposed to confinement, eradication and suppression without any real distinction between one country and another.
Can you turn the spotlight on the Libyan regime on the political, economic and social front?
The truth is that a question like this deserves its own essay so that all the aspects of the issue can be covered, however, we will attempt to answer in a manner fitting the situation.
The Libyan regime from a political aspect is just a dictatorial regime that applies individual rule. Any regime of this genre, regardless of its composition will focus its policies on the conflict for keeping sovereignty in its entirety and to constrict any tool which desires to participate in politics, even if it were a group of youth! In this respect, it relies completely on confinement, violence and punishment in achieving its policy objectives.
The Qaddhafi regime and its third world vision - as he names it -under which he had forced the Libyan people to live as prisoners to, contains trifles, nonsense, and slogans which have no benefit and no meanings. The Libyan regime forces its people to accept these policies because the regime itself has no valid claim to power nor any mass support for its policies nor for its stay in power. For this reason, Qaddhafi is always anxious to break down any threat to his regime with any means possible.
These are the facets of the Qaddhafi policies. These policies were ascribed by Allah - Most Exalted to Fir'aun in the Noble Qur'an saying: "Fir'aun had raised himself in the earth and made its people into schisms, exploiting the weakness of a group amongst them slaughtering their male children and keeping alive their female children, he was indeed of the corrupters."
As for his foreign policies, for many years, Qaddhafi has been living under the pressures that came through the Lockerbie disaster. This disaster effects 95% of Qaddhafi's foreign policies, the latest of these effects being his departure from Arab nationalism, and the change in the representation of Libya amongst the Arabic countries shifting towards Africa. This is because Qaddhafi believes that the Arabs let him down with respect to Lockerbie and that they did not stand by his side against the Libyan boycott. These chaotic efforts by Qaddhafi indicate the confusion in his foreign policy and his oblivion to any real political goals whether internationally or regionally.
As for the economy, it is well-known that the policy of the regime in fighting the private sector still continues. The regime embraces the ideology of government ownership for everything. This has led to the spread of corruption, exploitation, a fall in productivity, a fall in the GDP and an increase in unemployment as the regime finds itself unable to create any work opportunities.
The Libyan economy is witnessing a great expansion in the black market, and a monopoly of the regime and its friends over the production of petrol and the wasting of this resource in a manner that does not contribute to any growth in the country. In general, industrial and agricultural productions are reducing every year.
On the social level, problems are on the increase as a result of government policies or neglect for their population and not making the public aware of their value to society nor of their rights and their obligations. This is also a result of the spread of Western cultural values that are in contrast with Islamic values and beliefs, and are in direct contrast with Libyan values and culture.
A look at the family and its role in society, or the issue of women and youth would reveal the destructive role of the Qaddhafi regime in disfiguring and breaking down Libyan society.
The situation with respect to essential services such as health, education, and housing illustrates an incredible and very tragic situation that must be observed to be believed.
Despite possessing great oil resources worth billions of dollars, and despite only having a population of five million, the Libyan population lives a life of poverty, misery and backwardness.
How do the Libyan people behave towards the evils of Qaddhafi and his henchmen?
Rejection is the predominant feeling amongst all classes of Libyan society, meaning the rejection of Qaddhafi, his regime and policies, however, this is only at the level of feelings and sentiments.
As for action and activities, we cannot say that the Libyan people in general have passed beyond the stage of sentiments to the stage of action. There are many reasons for this, including the constriction of the regime and its tyranny which knows no mercy towards those who oppose it or show any animosity towards it. Another of these reasons is the fall in the level of awareness amongst the Libyan people both on the religious aspect, with respect to the Kufr of Qaddhafi and his regime and the religious requirement to rebel against him, and from the political aspect with respect to the participation of the public in general politics. For this reason, we are witnessing the absence of the role of the people from confronting Qaddhafi and his regime despite their rejection of his rule and despite their enmity towards him.
What are the principles which govern the relationship between the Fighting Islamic Group and the present government?
We determine and establish our relationship with others in accordance with the Islamic Creed; from this also comes the nature of our relationship with the governing regime in Libya. In accordance with this principle, we regard the governing regime in Libya as an oppressive, corrupt and apostate regime that is at war with Allah (s.w.t) and His Messenger (s.a.w).
Therefore, our relationship with the regime is one of enmity, hatred awar until Allah judges between us.
Can you clarify for us the boundaries and the symbols of the presenbattle between the Libyan regime and the FIG since the declaration by the Group of Jihad against the regime, and what are the latest developments on the field?
The battle between the Fighting Islamic Group and the Libyan regime from the tactical and practical level relies on armed activity, that is, Jihad in the path of Allah.
However, as you are aware, the word Jihad in the path of Allah is a broad and general term. For this reason, the main problem is how do we strive in the path of Allah in our situation and in the field? Also, what is our goal from Jihad in the path of Allah? That is, to identify with accuracy the real goal that we wish to achieve from the armed struggle.
For this reason, the symbols of the battle which the Fighting Islamic Group is engaged in with the Libyan regime can be reached through the understanding of the FIG of the relationship between the sword and the book and between Jihad and Da'wah and war and politics.
As for the most recent developments, these are tied to the aforementioned. The FIG has effected rational changes with respect to the relationship between armed action and political Da'wah activities for the FIG. In fact, the FIG has created a new perspective with respect to the employment of the armed struggle for its cause and its call, all gained in the light of learning from the experience of the past three years when the battle was inflamed between the FIG and the regime.
Do you believe that assassinating Qaddhafi will lead to the downfall of his regime, or that it will have a negative effect on the direction of the battle to bring down the regime?
We believe that clearing the despot Qaddhafi will shake the Libyan regime to a large extent, and will realise many gains for the Fighting Islamic Group.
As for the pros and cons, there is no doubt that there are some negative aspects which will develop as a result of the sudden disappearance of a person like Qaddhafi. The most important two negatives are: that the country will enter into a long civil war on a tribal basis. This problem does not depend on any substantial evidence and is no more than a concern that may eventuate, however, the possibility of such an eventuality is very minimal.
The second negative aspect is represented in the disappearance of Qaddhafi himself, the presence of a person such as Qaddhafi which his personality and mindset in power, gives you an important key with respect to the battle. Qaddhafi's presence in fact brings us great support, as we would not be wrong in saying that all the Libyan society holds him in contempt.
The second problem may be regarded as a real concern, however, with the blessing of Allah Most Exalted and Most High, and through taking the necessary steps with respect to such circumstances, such an eventuality may have positive results. The benefits that would eventuate as a result of the disappearance of Qaddhafi are great indeed. In fact, I would not be exaggerating if I said that getting rid of Qaddhafi is the first tactical step to reach the goal.
How do the Mujahideen deal with the threats of Qaddhafi to eliminate opposition outside of Libya?
The FIG has already issued a statement with respect to this threat. This statement number 12 dated 24 Safar 1419 h which corresponds with 18 June 1998 CE. In this statement, the FIG affirmed that the retaliation will be in kind and outside of Libya.
How do you view the future developments in the shade of the present conspiracy against the Islamic Jihad movements by the enemies of Allah?
In my view, the most dangerous development of its kind was the entry of the United States of America into a direct confrontation arena against the Islamic movements.
The American missile attacks against Sudan and Afghanistan gives you an indication of the size and nature of any future confrontations. The United States no longer relies on its agents to constrict the Islamic tide; it has taken this role upon itself. For this reason, all future developments as far as we can see, will turn around that plane, with all that it involves of policies, plots and conspiracies.
Here comes the role of the Islamic movement, in that it must comprehend the stance and recheck its priorities. It must also find the means, the manner, and the transactions that will guarantee for it its continuance along the path to its goal for which it was established, and this goal is the adoption of an Islamic life in a geographical location on the world map.
What is required of the Muslims to support your Jihad movement in its efforts to remove the apostate regime?
We have over the Muslims the right of succour and patronage, and this is a religious matter that is commanded of us by our upright religion.
Support is divided into two parts: either financial, or spiritual. We are in need of both equally, and every Muslim must offer what is within his ability, and Allah does not burden a soul with greater than it can bear.
"O you who believe, if you succour Allah, He will succour you and make firm your feet, and those who disbelieve, misery for them, and their works will be lost, that is because they hated what Allah had sent down, so He suppressed their works." (47:7-9)