Libya's interim leader on Monday sought to dispel fears that the North African nation would adopt hardline Islamic rule, a day after he declared sharia law the primary source for future legislation.
"I would like to assure the international community that we as Libyans are Muslims but moderate Muslims," Mustafa Abdel Jalil said at a news conference in the eastern city of Benghazi.
Abdel Jalil announced on Sunday that a free Libya would base its laws on sharia, at a ceremony during which the country was declared "liberated" following the capture and killing of ousted despot Muammar Gaddafi.
The National Transitional Council chief stressed during today's media conference that sharia would be the source of legislation but that this did not mean current laws in contradiction of sharia would be summarily annulled or made void.
"My reference (on Sunday) doesn't mean we will abolish or annul any laws. When I mentioned the law on marriage and divorce I just wanted to give an example (of laws in conflict with sharia)."
"Because the (current) law does not authorise polygamy except under precise conditions, if these conditions are not met, then the law bars polygamy, whereas sharia, based on a verse of the Koran, allows polygamy."
Yesterday he had cited as an example of conflict in existing legislation the law on marriage which under Gaddafi banned polygamy even though it is permitted in Islam.
He told reporters today that banking would also follow Islamic principles and that the earning of interest, viewed as usury in Islam, would be banned.
"This is a basic principle whether in the temporary or permanent constitution," he said.
"Because there is a Koranic verse, that cannot be negotiated or argued. And the Koran is the highest constitution for all Muslims."