Anti-Qaddafi protesters perform Friday prayers at the Muradagha mosque before demonstrating in the Tajoura district of eastern Tripoli in Libya on Friday. The protesters got another boost on Friday after imams across Saudi Arabia declared their support for the Libyan people's struggle to overthrow Muammar Qaddafi. (AP)
By ARAB NEWS
Published: Mar 5, 2011 01:10 Updated: Mar 5, 2011 01:16
RIYADH/JEDDAH: Imams in mosques across the Kingdom on Friday led prayers for the Libyan people and in sermons called for the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi.
In Jeddah, the imam of Sheikh Ahmad Salah Jamjoum Mosque in Rawdah district fervently prayed to God to destroy Qaddafi describing him as a “bloodthirsty dictator.”
In Sahafa street, the imam of a mosque called on the Libyan people to rise and fight Qaddafi whom he called a criminal and an enemy of Islam. He said he was the worst leader in the world. Those who had been killed by Qaddafi’s forces were martyrs, he said.
In Riyadh, the imam at the mosque in Al-Dubaht district in Malaz slammed Qaddafi as a tyrant who should step down to save the people from anarchy. He said: “The Libyan people should not be allowed to suffer for no fault of theirs.”
Another imam at Al-Owaidah Mosque in the capital requested Muslims to work together to achieve unity and peace as dictated by Islam. He pointed out that Islam is a religion of peace that advocates unity among all ethnic groups. “We should learn to coexist with people of other faiths so that all beings can live happily and peacefully in this age,” he noted.
Earlier, Saudi scholars declared their support for the ongoing people’s struggle against Qaddafi and expressed their solidarity for the people fighting the regime.
The scholars made the statement in response to a recent comment by Qaddafi’s son Seif Al-Islam that before “the rebellion started, some religious preachers and scholars used to visit Libya to lick the boots of the Libyan leader.”
Member of the Saudi Council of Senior Religious Scholars Sheikh Saleh Al-Lehaydan denied that he had issued a fatwa condemning the Libyan protesters for opposing Qaddafi. “The bloodshed should be stopped. Qaddafi’s government is not Islamic. He is an usurper who rebelled against the Sanusi king about four decades ago and never received the oath of allegiance of the people,” said Al-Lehaydan. The scholar added that Qaddafi is an evil conqueror who rejected the sayings of the Last Prophet (peace be upon him). “He is not a leader, but a vulgar ignorant Bedouin, an arrogant man with military power,” he added.
Forces loyal to Qaddafi have regained control of Zawiyah, near Tripoli, from rebel hands, state television reported on Friday.
At least 30 people were killed and 200 more wounded in Zawiyah, Al Jazeera TV quoted a witness as saying. Wounded people started arriving at the hospital Friday morning. Most of the injuries resulted from gunshots, and many of the injuries were to the head and chest.
An explosion at an ammunition depot in Benghazi killed 17 people on Friday, officials said. Dr. Habib Al-Obeidi in Benghazi’s Al-Jalaa hospital said the blast at a military base also hit a residential area.
Meanwhile, a ship carrying about $160 million worth of Libyan currency has been impounded after turning back from a planned trip to Libya, a British government official said Friday. A number of containers full of currency were moved from the ship to a secure location.
Interpol has issued an international alert for Qaddafi and 15 other family members and close associates to help enforce international sanctions against the Libyan strongman and his regime.
The international police organization said Friday that Qaddafi, his relatives and allies “have been identified as being involved in or complicit in planning attacks, including aerial bombardments, on civilian populations.”
Senior US Sen. John McCain stepped up pressure on Friday on President Barack Obama to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, calling it a test of whether he truly wants Qaddafi gone from power.
“If you want Qaddafi to go, then one of the steps among many would be to establish a no-fly zone to prevent him from massacring his own people from the air,” said McCain, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In a separate development, Libya appointed former Foreign Minister Ali Abdussalam Treki as its envoy at the UN, replacing the previous envoy who broke away from the Libyan leadership, a source said. “Dr. Treki has been appointed as Libyan envoy to the UN to replace (Abdurrahman) Shalgham,” the source said.