Members of the new political party addressing the news conference
By Khadija Ali
Libya's Muslim Brotherhood has formed a political party and will contest Libya's general elections in June, the first since 1969. The leaders of the new party say they are independent from the well known Libyan Muslim Brotherhood group both administratively and organizationally.
Addressing the new party's first news conference on Thursday night in a hotel in the Libyan capital Tripoli, Mr. Mohamed Hassan Sowane, said that the party is made up of thirty-one members including the general director, Mr. Bashir Kebti.
He said that its executive office has proposed nine offices, with the most prominent being, the political, educational, public relations and economic offices. The council also adopted the judicial board elected at the ninth conference held in Benghazi on November 18-19.
The Muslim brotherhood emphasised the fact that it would be a party independent of the group. Its main objective in forming the party, it said, is "gathering all national powers to set up a civil state that has an Islamic reference".
The party will also be based on the principles of "information freedom, respect of human rights and the activation of civil society organizations."
Referring to the issue of disarming the civilians currently carrying weapons in the streets of Tripoli and other areas, the Brotherhood called on organising the weapon carriers.
It also acknowledged that the revolutionaries must be accommodated and be admitted to rehabilitation programs available to them in order for disarming them to be possible. The members of the new party added it would be helpful to engage the revolutionaries in the activities of the national security forces.
According to the Brotherhood the best way to reach national reconciliation is to have all the judicial and other organisations and institutions back in operation in society. It also viewed tribalism as a social fabric and not as a political component.
Dr. Majda al-Falah, head of women's affairs in the Muslim Brotherhood said they would be encouraging women to participate in political activities and also to take up political roles. They will also form civil societies organisations and encourage women to take part in them.
Dr al-Falah pointed out that the Muslim Brotherhood does not intend to impose dress codes. They will be focused on raising awareness on the importance of hijab but it's up to women to choose to wear it or not.
"We will work hard to raise awareness amongst women of their rights, the rights that have been given to them by Islam, their full rights," Dr. Majda stressed.
Despite criticism of lack of transparency by Libya's interim government, the Muslim Brotherhood expressed its support to the government. They argued that the interim government is still new and has not been given enough time to function. It said that the burden the interim government is carrying is very heavy.
Although in retrospect the Muslim Brotherhood did express reservations with regards to the National Transitional Council, it acknowledged the importance of the role played by the NTC during the revolution and to national unity.
But the new party's officials did not explain what their reservations were and simply stopped short at saying, "we have comments".