- How much Mahmoud Jibril’s NFA (National Forces Alliances) won - and and its 60% win in Benghazi -
- then how Benghazi has been the ‘center of regional and spiritual Sufi discontent’
- and King Idris - Al Senussi monarchy
- and his pro-Western education policies.
It’s all from yes, American NeoCon (Israeli Right wing) outlet, William Kristol’s Weekly Standard. Thus I don’t know how credible these characterizations are yet (still have to read and check a lot).
But having fun.
Wondering about that Somalia - in the back of my head too.
How - Sufi and Somalia’s original more pro-Western Education and Cultural orientation might have had some co-relation. Or might haven’t. (I am not sure how Sufi was big or small in Somalia originally/traditionally yet.)
The Libyan vote calls that conclusion into question. Voters were selecting 200 parliamentarians who will write a new constitution—80 representing political parties and 120 individuals. In preliminary counting, Mahmoud Jibril’s centrist Alliance of National Forces gained 80 percent in Tripoli and 60 percent in Benghazi. Jibril is the head of the National Transitional Council (NTC) and a political scientist who studied and taught in the United States. (Though the same may be said of many radical Islamists; American education, unfortunately, does not inoculate against extremist ideology.)
A high tally for Jibril in Benghazi would be especially significant as that eastern Libyan metropolis has been a center of regional and spiritual Sufi discontent. The great nephew of Libya’s King Idris I (1889-1983), Ahmed Al-Senussi, born in 1933, and imprisoned and tortured by Qaddafi, leads a dissident Cyrenaica Transitional Council in Benghazi.
The Libyan MB’s Justice and Construction party, and the Al-Watan (Nation) party, a Wahabbi grouping led by former al Qaeda figure Abdelhakim Belhadj, are reported far behind throughout the country.
Libya has a history of resisting radical Islam since the rise of Saudi Wahhabism in the 18th century, rooted in the defense of Sufi metaphysics. King Idris, who ruled from independence in 1951 to his overthrow by Qaddafi in 1969, was the head of the Senussi Sufi order. Idris had governed Cyrenaica but gained royal authority as grandson of the Sufi mystic Sayyid Muhammad Ibn Ali As-Senussi (1787-1859). Many Libyans remember the tradition of their “Sufi king” with affection.
King Idris created a pro-Western state, erected modern universities in Tripoli and Benghazi, and established a Senussi religious university, which Qaddafi shut down in 1984 in an effort to extirpate the memory of the Senussis. Sayyid Muhammad Ibn Ali As-Senussi, grandfather of King Idris, formed the Senussi Sufi order as a branch of the Idrisi Sufis, founded by the Moroccan Ahmad Ibn Idris (1760-1837), one of the most important figures in latter-day Islamic thought.
Ahmad Ibn Idris was notable both in his reforming concepts—he called for abandonment of the traditional sharia schools of Islamic law—and for his active opposition to Wahhabism. Ahmad Ibn Idris went to Mecca to challenge the Wahhabis, who forced him to flee to Yemen, though he survived. The flag of King Idris, which was adopted by the anti-Qaddafi Libyan rebels and has been restored as Libya’s national banner, includes a central black stripe with a white crescent and star, representing the Senussi Sufis, and the Idrisi legacy.