Libya: mullahs speak out against planned rally over fears of violence


Thousands of Libyans attend Friday prayer in Revolution Square in Benghazi on June 3, 2011.



Mullahs in Libya are discouraging people from attending a protest march planned for late Friday, fearing the event could lead to fresh violence weeks after a rally outside the US consulate in Benghazi turned deadly, reported Reuters, citing local reports. 

Top Libya mufti Sadeq al-Gharyani issued a statement in local news today calling for the demonstration against militias inside Libya to be canceled "because this march will not be secure," according to Reuters

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"I call on the people not to participate in this march so that no blood is spilled," the statement read. "There are some people who want to use these protests to cause violence."

Preachers in mosques throughout the country called on congregants not to attend the event, said Reuters

Libya's Interior Ministry said police are on high alert, Friday being a day of prayer throughout the Islamic world and therefore often a day of heightened protest activity. 

Meanwhile, FBI agents have arrived in Libya to investigate the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, a State Department computer expert, and two former US Navy Seals on Sept. 11, reported The Associated Press. That rally, ostensibly organized by Muslims outraged over the content of a US-made anti-Islamic film, sparked similar protests throughout the Muslim world. However, it remains unclear if the protest directly caused the attack or was used as a cover. 

FBI spokesman Paul Bresson told the AP on Friday that "we are moving forward with our investigation," but did not provide further details.

The State Department reduced its staff at the Tripoli consulate late Thursday over security concerns, said the AP, while the embassy warned today of potential protests in Tripoli and the city of Benghazi, where Stevens was killed. 

Also Thursday, Libya announced it had disbanded 10 militia groups as part of its crackdown on militant activity, said the AP