Tripoli, August 20, 2014
The militant islamists, who are controlling a number of districts of the Libyan capital of Tripoli, have banned jewelers from selling jewelry in any way related to Christian themes, reports the Calam1 news portal with the reference to the Ad-Diyar Libyan newspaper.
According to the news agency’s report, last week armed individuals in masks and camouflages made raids upon a number of jewelry stores of the Libyan capital. Shopkeepers and workshop owners as well as their employees were forced on penalty of death to refuse production and selling of a number of articles in one way or another related to the Christian themes—crosses and small chains for them, icons and their mountings. In connection with this, many jewelers resolved to rescue the fruit of their work, hiding their products at their homes in Tripoli or evacuating them from the city itself to neighboring villages.
Authorities in Libya, however, are flatly denying that they have put pressure on the jewelers and that of Christian symbols have disappeared from counters. Specifically, the minister of justice Ashraf Rifi last Thursday voiced criticism of empty (in his view) “rumours, intended for creation of panic among the Libyan capital residents”.
“Every prohibition of anything is regulated solely by the law,” the official noted, “and even beer advertising cannot be prohibited on religious grounds, not to mention the selling of jewelry.” Nevertheless, there has been no constructive disclaimer by the Libyan media of the information, published in the Libyan press.