The Libyan government voted today to make Sharia law the basis for all legislative policy in that country. Spurred on by the Muslim Brotherhood-supported Justice and Construction party, the Libyan General National Congress decided that current and future laws should be compliant with Islamic religious doctrine, and that a committee be created to monitor and supervise the adoption of Sharia.
Libya is not the first nation in recent years to turn hardline Islamic—it seems like the general trend is that in countries where the U.S. waters the seed of revolution, the fruit is generally a semi-theocratic government. Consider Egypt, where the Arab Spring unfolded with moral adulation from President Obama, only to result in the election of the Muslim Brotherhood to power. That election ushered in a resurgence of laws against blasphemy and the arrest of figures like Egyptian satirist Bassem Youssef for criticizing the government. Meanwhile, in Syria, factions of rebels have rejected U.S. support for a moderate interim government-in-exile, preferring instead to stand by Sharia.
U.S. involvement in the Libyan revolution included direct action via airstrikes. In Afghanistan, where involvement was much more extensive and protracted, polls have shown that 99 percent of the population favor the imposition of Sharia. This is belied by legislative action in the Afghan parliament, where steps to ban violence against women and prohibit women from marrying before the age of 16 were blocked.
In Libya, Reuters projects that a swing towards Sharia has financial ramifications. Islamic finance is a burgeoning business in investments banks throughout the world, as nations with Sharia law in place prohibit charging interest. Banks like J.P. Morgan maintain dedicated Islamic finance departments.
Libya has suffered through unrest and disorder since the ousting of Qaddafi, and is currently embroiled in protests which threaten to cause electric blackouts throughout the country. The country’s transition government and leaders have been flirting with the idea of implementing Sharia since the revolution, and the U.S. State Department has been and remains silent on the issue.
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