Islamic militancy

Militants detain Libya Comic Con organisers for ‘attack on morals’

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 November, 2017, 8:14pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 November, 2017, 8:14pm

A Libyan armed group said on Saturday it had closed a comic book convention in Tripoli and detained the organisers for an “attack on morals and modesty” in the strife-ridden country.

Hundreds of young Libyans on Friday flocked to the opening of the city’s second Comic Con festival, including some dressed up as their favourite heroes from American comic books and Japanese manga.

Later in the day members from the Deterrence Force – a group of mainly conservative Islamists that acts as the police for the UN-backed government – entered the venue, seized computers and arrested organisers, a participant said.

The group said those responsible for the event would be handed over “to prosecutors for an attack on morals and modesty” as they looked to prey on youths in the city.

“This sort of festival imported from abroad exploits the weakness in their religious faith and their fascination with foreign cultures,” said the group in a statement posted on Facebook.

Comic Con began in 1970 as a convention of a few dozen fans who swapped superhero magazines in the US. The event has grown in size and spread around the world, including ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia.

Libya has been wracked by conflict since the fall of leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 and the country has two rival governments: a so-called unity government in the west that is backed by the UN and a rival administration backed by a military strongman in the east.

Hundreds of different militia groups have stepped in to impose their authority in the security vacuum.