Libya Talk discusses religious extremism and its threats to Libya
Religious extremism worries and affects all areas of life in Libya. Thus, this episode of the program “Libya Talk” dealt with this question with its guests, MP Ali Al-Takbali, Dr. Sheikh Muhammad Al-Huntati, specialist in Sharia and Koranic sciences, and Khaled Al-Badawi , a journalist and blogger.
The program spoke about the reality of extremism, its causes and its consequences. The causes of religious extremism were discussed, including the beginning of the threat of extremism in Islam on the role of religious institutions and clerics in promoting extremist discourse.
The program’s camera also toured the streets and asked people about the issue of extremism and its presence in society and the public mindset.
The push towards extremism
One of the main causes of extremism is the economic factor, a misunderstanding of religion or a person’s desire to be an extremist.
Ali Al-Takbali said that all these reasons push for extremism, citing what Imam Ali bin Abi Talib has faced throughout history, and felt that the history of Islamic extremism started since then.
Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hinati responded by saying that the main cause of extremism is ignorance in matters of religion in addition to internal and external factors related to family, school and environment.
Regarding the ignorance of religion, Khaled Al-Badawi, also spoke and indicated that he agreed with the sheikh and believed him with the simple difference that “to push for ignorance”, and not ignorance itself, is the cause of extremism.
Danger of religious extremism in Islam
The story of the beginning of the danger of religious extremism in Islam took up part of the program discussion.
In this context, Al-Takbali mentioned that extremism started in the time of the Prophet and after his death. However, he believed that the main conflicts occurred in the 1980s and in the current century. On the other hand, he spoke of an Islamic revival. He added that public discourse has become extremist as a result of interference from outsiders who want to corrupt Islam.
Al-Badawi agreed with him, adding to the reasons the emergence and diversity of programs and the difference of opinion among scholars. This, in his view, lost the compass, even though the scholars’ intentions were sound.
People on the streets of Libya were asked the following question: “Has Libya succeeded in neutralizing extremist rhetoric?” Responses varied between those who considered it a success and those who pointed to the existence of an extremist ideology that distorts religion and throws it into politics.
A way to reduce religious extremism
There must be ways to help reduce religious extremism. This was highlighted by Al-Takbali, who stressed the importance of spreading moderate religious discourse through media, social media and education.
The Sheikh praised the impact of true science and understanding as enemies of terrorism and extremism, while Al-Badawi stressed that the Quran should be interpreted as it is and that the moderation is in the tone of communication.
Libya between religion and politics
The separation between religion and politics is a crucial issue in Libya, and in this context, Al-Takbali spoke of the need to spread a non-extremist religious culture, calling for the use in part of religious legislation.
The Sheikh referred to the Tunisian experience saying that Tunisia is a successful country because it partially uses religious legislation.
As for Al-Badawi, he said he refuses to separate religion from politics because religion is the law of the land.
The use of religious discourse in politics was a major focus of the episode.
Al-Takbali commented that it is legitimate to use religious speech to incite young people to do what benefits Islam, refusing to use such speech to spread hatred, which the Sheikh addressed by commenting that the Moderate religious speech is a patriotic act, a legitimate duty, and a civilized method.
Al-Badawi believed that it was possible to use religious discourse in politics, as long as it was done in a positive way and not aimed at controlling people and spreading fanaticism.
The fate of the next generation
It was necessary to talk about the future of the next generation in the Middle East and North Africa, and whether it is on the verge of extremism or openness.
Al-Takbali warned of a dangerous step Libya could experience if the current approach continues. This, he says, would destroy the concept of moderate Islam. Therefore, he called on educated young people to be aware of this reality and to follow the religion of God, not the religion of individuals.
For the sheikh, ethnic, racial, sectarian and other conflicts are major calamities for Libya and the whole region, which can eventually lead to war.
As for El-Badawi, he sounded optimistic and said that extremism would end if children were brought up well, learned from experience and lessons learned effectively.