LIFG’s Sami Al-Saadi Condemns Any Revolt Against Turkey’s Neo-Ottomans – Al Marsad

The radical Islamic cleric Sadiq al-Gharyani and the former leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Sami al-Saadi, continue to issue extremist fatwas and political pronouncements in favour of Turkey, the latest one was yesterday on Saudi Arabia’s declaration of the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.

(Libya, 14 November 2020) – In response to Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars classifying the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group that does not represent Islam, the former leader of the terrorist group Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), Sami al-Saadi posted on his Facebook official account on Saturday: “Saudi Arabia deserves to be called the ‘Khawarij’ of the modern era for its conspiracy against the Ottomans in response to British desires.”


Al-Saadi currently resides in Turkey, as do many other LIFG terrorist members. In his response to a commentator who told him that describing Saudi Arabia’s rulers as “kharijites” was not correct because they did not pledge allegiance to the Ottoman Sultan, al-Saadi said: “The private pledge of allegiance is not required, and the mere fact that the Two Holy Mosques are officially still under the authority of the Ottoman Muslims, it is forbidden to disavow them.”

Sami Al-Saadi, a former prisoner in the UK and who was handed over to Libya after his arrest in Afghanistan by US forces when he was a leading member of the terrorist group LIFG, is considered one of the most loyal supporters of Turkish policies in Libya and the region—or neo-Ottomanism.

This strange explanation by al-Saadi seems to suggest that in his mind countries are still living in the Ottoman era and somehow nation-states do not exist. By considering the Saudi state as “Kharijites” for revolting against the tyranny of the Ottomans who stole parts of the sacred Black Stone of the Ka’ba and some of the relics of the Prophet Muhammad, it is by extension self-evident that he will consider those who revolted in Libya against the oppressive Ottomans also to be “Kharijites”.

The problem for al-Saadi is not the concept of revolting against rulers as such, but just not against the Ottoman ones.

This is particularly awkward politically and religiously for all members of the terrorist group the LIFG, who after they promised to “renounce” violence against the state during the time of Gaddafi, and having each been paid money for their time in prison in Libya, returned back to rebel against the state and take up arms during the Libyan Revolution of 2011.

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The absurdity of al-Saadi’s comments call into question the great freedom fighters of Libyan history, such as that of Sheikh Guma bin Khalifa al-Mahmoudi. He was the sheikh of the Mahamid tribes and leader of the western region in Libya, who led one of the major revolts in the Arab world against Ottoman rule from 1835 to 1858. He was one of Libya’s most distinguished heroes whose role is embedded in Libya’s historical memory.

The revolt movement led by Sheikh Gouma al-Mahmoudi is considered one of the most important movements that took place in the western Tripoli Eyalet province during the Ottoman rule (1551-1911), given the large segment of the Eyalet population, including large and powerful tribes. Its influence expanded to a wide geographical area that included most of the Western Mountain (Nafusa Mountains) and the Western Region of the Eyalet.

It lasted for about a quarter of a century and came to constitute dangerous threat to Ottoman presence in Libya. The revolt inflicted defeats on the Ottoman army in several locations, depleted its economic potential and caused political crises that led to the fall of Turkish governors and change of military leaders.

Among the corrupt governors who were resisted by the revolt was the governor of the state of Tripoli, Mahmud Raif Pasha, who was infamous for robbing Libyans through taxes, and imposing harsh punishments on those unable to pay them. Punishments included beatings with whips, confiscation of lands and sheep, and burning homes. Brutal punishments, such as cutting of the ears, were also widespread at the hands of Raif Pasha.

The revolutions led by Sheikh Guma bin Khalifa al-Mahmoud became the subject of deep concern for the Sublime Port and the Sultan, and had their enormous impact on on tribal dynamics and centres of influence in the Eyalet. The revolt ended after a long exile and struggle and martyrdom at the hands of the Ottoman invaders who placed him in then Fezzan and then killed him by cutting his head and then dragged in the streets of central Tripoli.

All such brave Libyan heroes and patriots are all but “Kharijites” according to the implications of LIFG’s Sami al-Saadi’s pronouncements. He would consider the bravery of Sheikh Guma bin Khalifa al-Mahmoudi as the work of the kharijites , rather than a legitimate struggle, as was the Saudi state’s struggle against Ottoman occupation.

© Al-Marsad English (2020)