Following are excerpts from an interview with Abdelhakim Belhaj, the military commander of Tripoli, Libya, which aired on the Al-Jazeera network on September 21, 2011:
Abdelhakim Belhaj: First of all, may Allah have mercy upon the souls of the martyrs, who have fallen first of all for the sake of Allah, and secondly, for the liberation of their country.
Interviewer: Some people have concerns because you belong to the Islamic Fighting Group, and at the same time, you are in command of the military council of Tripoli.
Abdelhakim Belhaj: First of all, there should be no concerns anymore. As has been made public, the Islamic Fighting Group convened and set as a main goal the delivery of the Libyan people from Qadhafi's rule. In order to accomplish this goal, many young Muslims got together, and made several attempts to accomplish this goal. The Fighting Islamic Group continued in this path for some time, until at a certain point, we, the group's leaders, sat down together, and issued amending studies, which were made public.
Interviewer: I have this book, but many people have doubts about it, because it was written in prison, and there is no freedom to express one's opinions in prison.
Abdelhakim Belhaj: Not everything written in prison is necessary like that. We believe in what we wrote there.
We want a law-abiding civil state, where justice prevails…
Interviewer: A civil state?
Abdelhakim Belhaj: Undoubtedly.
Interviewer: Some fear that you are striving to establish an Islamic Emirate.
Abdelhakim Belhaj: These are mere rumors. We want what I just said: a civil state…
Interviewer: Which would accept all?
Abdelhakim Belhaj: Of course, everybody.
Interviewer: Including the liberal and the secular? With regard to which political approach or inclination will prevail… This should not be discussed right now. We will get there, and then the Libyan people will have its say.