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PARIS, Feb 21 (Reuters) - A coalition of Libyan Islamic leaders has issued a fatwa telling all Muslims it is their duty to rebel against the Libyan leadership and demanding the release of all jailed protesters.
The group also demanded the release of fellow Islamic scholar Sadiq al-Ghriani, who was arrested after criticising the government, and "all imprisoned demonstrators, including many of our young students".
Calling itself the Network of Free Ulema of Libya, the group of over 50 Muslim scholars said the government and its supporters "have demonstrated total arrogant impunity and continued, and even intensified, their bloody crimes against humanity.
"They have thereby demonstrated total infidelity to the guidance of God and his beloved Prophet (peace be upon him)," said the undated statement obtained by Reuters on Monday.
"This renders them undeserving of any obedience or support, and makes rebelling against them by all means possible a divinely ordained duty," said the scholars, who asked not to be named for security reasons.
Open dissent by established Muslim clerics is rare in North Africa, but the crackdown on protesters rallied the scholars to form the previously unknown Network of Free Ulema.
Their first statement issued on Saturday denounced the government for firing on demonstrators who were demanding "their divinely endowned and internationally recognised human rights" and stressed the killing of innocent people was "forbidden by our Creator." (editing by David Stamp)