Ansar al Sharia Libya has denounced the capture of al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al Libi, whose real name is Nazih Abdulhamad al Ruqai, in a statement posted on the group’s Facebook page on Oct. 8. US Special Forces seized al Libi in Tripoli on Oct. 5.
“Regarding this case,” representatives of Ansar al Sharia’s sharia committee write, “we must seek to release the captive brother Abu Anas Nazih al Ruqai from those unjust disbelievers who have seized the lands and violated the sanctities, with every legitimate way allowed by the pure Shariah.”
The statement was translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.
“We must not be silent and underestimate the response to this issue,” Ansar al Sharia’s statement continues. “There must be a large popular movement to release our brother and others who are detained in foreign prisons. If we remain silent, then we are sinful and it is a shame on us and our history.”
Much of the statement reads like a standard jihadist text, lamenting America’s and the disbelievers’ supposed suppression of Muslims seeking to implement sharia law.
Ansar al Sharia asks: “Every wise person should think, did we come out in our revolution against the tyrant in order for America and others to impose themselves as guardians over Muslims in our country, and decide what they want and say what they want without supervision and accountability for their actions?”
The group also criticizes the Libyan government for being too friendly to foreign powers.
“The Libyan government today seeks only to strengthen its existence and power through presenting loyalty to these belligerent countries and offering them facilitations [sic] in the country,” Ansar al Sharia writes. “Their planes watch us and violate our sanctities and spy on the private lives of Muslims without supervision, as if this government forgot what happened to Gaddafi after he abandoned the Shariah and allied with the disbelievers and fought Islam.”
Members of Ansar al Sharia were among the multiple al Qaeda-linked parties that took part in the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.
Ansar al Sharia is not the only organization to object to al Libi’s capture, which has set off a firestorm of controversy inside Libya.
The spokesman for Libya’s General National Congress issued a statement saying that the US should immediately surrender the al Qaeda operative to the Libyan government and that the raid was a “flagrant violation of [Libya’s] national sovereignty.”
Others have taken to social media pages to denounce the raid. One Facebook page titled, “O America, We All Are Nazih al Ruqai,” wondered how Libyans will react to the raid. “Will the people accept the kidnapping of their compatriot?,” a post on the page asked. “I think there are men among Libyans.” The creators of the page have routinely called for retribution in Anas al Libi’s name.