The assassination of journalist Abu Zaid in Libya

Journalist Muftah Abu Zaid, one of Libya’s bravest, was assassinated in the city of Benghazi which international forces saved from the horrendous massacre that Muammar Qaddafi’s forces were about to commit three years ago. The assassination of Abu Zaid is an attempt to end the growing popular movement aimed at voicing rejection of extremist groups and armed militias that dominate the country and seek to turn it into another Somalia.

We have not heard media and international human rights’ organizations condemn the practices of Islamic groups that take up arms and target journalists at a time when these international organizations kept us busy talking about the few journalists, affiliated with Brotherhood media outlets, who complain of bad treatment! Terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia’s crime of killing Abu Zaid, and similar extremist groups’ public threats to eliminate anyone who opposes them in Libya, tests the credibility of media and international human rights’ organizations that are only defending the journalists affiliated with the Brotherhood and other extremist groups.

Witnessing a popular revolt

All of Libya, and not just Benghazi and Darnah, is witnessing a popular revolt against dozens of terrorist groups and militias. This is represented in supporting the national army which is confronting these groups and calling for disarming them. Libya, and not Afghanistan, Syria or Yemen, has become the biggest gathering ground for militias. There are estimations that more than 300,000 Libyans are now armed. Many of them registered themselves on the so-called rebels’ list out of their greed to receive a monthly reward. This was a scam which extremist groups introduced to receive funding. They thus ended up fighting against the state using state funds!

All of Libya, and not just Benghazi and Darnah, is witnessing a popular revolt against dozens of terrorist groups and militias

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Abu Zaid, a journalist who resides in Benghazi where armed extremist groups gather, insisted on expressing his rejection of armament, bullying, extremism and dividing the country. He was thus a target of the Ansar al-Sharia group which has threatened him in the past. By assassinating him, the group is sending a message that all Libyan journalists and intellectuals must not criticize it. Only few Libyan journalists dare appear publicly to voice their opinions. This is in addition to journalists who reside outside the country and who know that extremism is far from them. We have thus returned to the situation that existed during Qaddafi’s era - the situation the people fought to end. And today, the people will once again fight to get rid of these extremist groups.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on May 27, 2014.


Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today.


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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