TRIPOLI - A prominent and influential Libyan Islamist cleric, returning to his native land after the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi, has demanded a role for "moderate" Islam in politics.
"We call for a moderate Islam," Ali Al-Sallabi said at a meeting late on Sunday that included supporters and opponents. "But you all have to understand that Islam is not just about punishment, cutting hands and beheading with swords."
Though he has no formal political role, Sallabi has become a hugely significant voice in Libyan affairs because he is close to the government of Qatar, an influential backer of interim rulers the National Transitional Council (NTC).
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