There were reports of attacks committed against individuals and religious sites on the basis of religious belief and government inaction in response to those attacks.
The government was unable to maintain law and order through its own formal justice and security structures; it relied on a variety of groups – revolutionary brigades, tribal militias, local strongmen – outside of the armed forces and police, to support local security. The government exerted varying degrees of control over these armed groups, and its response to instances of violence against Coptic Christians and attacks on Sufi sites across the country was limited to condemnations of the violence.
The judiciary was not fully functioning and citizens had little recourse if they believed their right to religious freedom had been violated. Citizens did not have access to courts to seek remedy for religious freedom violations.
The MEIA provided imams with texts for Friday sermons, which often contained political and social messages. The government permitted religious scholars to form independent organizations that issue fatwas and provide advice to followers.
Members of minority religious groups, primarily Christian foreigners, worshiped with minimal restrictions. The government routinely granted visas and residence papers to religious staff from other countries. Clergy generally were offered one-year residency permits, as were other foreign residents.
Grand Mufti al-Gharyani framed the country’s ongoing clashes over territory, resources, and political legitimacy in religious terms. Al-Gharyani said on June 10, that anyone who died while fighting the forces of Operation Dignity leader Khalifa Hifter was a religious martyr. Al-Gharyani reportedly issued a statement August 20, on his website, that characterized Operation Dawn, also known as Operation Fajr, and the Benghazi Revolutionaries’ Shura Council (an umbrella organization that includes the U.S.-designated terrorist organization Ansar al-Sharia-Benghazi), as “heroes.” Forces affiliated with Operations Dawn and Dignity have attacked civilian infrastructure and used indiscriminate shelling in heavily-populated civilian areas. The HOR has endorsed Operation Dignity leader Khalifa Hifter, who in May public statements equated all forms of political Islam, including participation in the Muslim Brotherhood, with terrorism.
Following the hanging of the effigy of Ali al-Tikbali, an HOR member, at a September 12 demonstration, the National Council on Human Rights stated that the grand mufti, the organizers of the protest, the Muslim Brotherhood, and the Justice and Construction Party, should be held responsible for any harm that might come to Tikbali. On September 30, Dar al-Ifta declared that participation in UN-sponsored peace negotiations was “un-Islamic.” After the Supreme Court’s November 6 decision that questioned the HOR’s authority, al-Gharyani called on the GNC to immediately implement Islamic law.
Tikbali and Fathi Sager, both leaders in the Libyan National Front Party, were charged with “insulting Islam” and “instigating division” (among other charges) for allegedly using offensive posters during the 2012 election campaign for the GNC. Two of the charges carried a possible death sentence, but on March 2, the Criminal Court acquitted both defendants.