Libya Detains UN Observer for "Sorcery" and "Black Magic"

Muslims in the US often complain about "witch hunts".


There's nothing modern about the Muslim world. It may have skyscrapers and smartphones imported from modern countries, but it is a fundamentally medieval place.

A United Nations observer at the trial of two of Muammar Gaddafi's sons in Libya has been detained on suspicion of "black magic".

Ahmed Ghanem, one of a three-strong UN team monitoring the case, was detained by security units on suspicion of occult practices.

A source at the prison said Ghanem, an Egyptian, was detained upon arrival to monitor the case after written material was found indicating possible "sorcery" or improper communications, and was later released.

A UN spokesman said it was seeking an explanation from the Libyan authorities.

Arrests for black magic are commonplace enough in places like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar. The usual targets are Ethiopian maids and the occasional Egyptian. Sometimes these arrests, like blasphemy arrests, are just harassment. Other times they're attempts to suppress a non-Muslim religion. In this case it's probably the former.

Muslims in the US often complain about "witch hunts". And yet they're the ones who actually hunt for witches.

Tags: Islam, Libya