Customs and traditions
Libya is a conservative but hospitable
country, where those who adhere to the prevailing
traditions tend to be well received. For several
decades, the country was marked by Gaddafi's rule and it
is as yet unclear which new symbols and holidays will
replace the fallen regime. The feasts of Islam have the
Libya is characterized by Islam and customs from the
Bedouin culture. At the same time, development has been
very fast since oil was discovered in the 1960s. Old and
new now live side by side - not always problem-free.
Overview of the capital city of Libya, including information about its population, economy, geography, history and map.
Religion is very important to most Libyans. Those who
visit the country should respect it and be aware that
criticism of Islam, or atheistic criticism of religions
in general, can hurt and provoke.
Hospitality is a highly valued tradition, strangers
are usually warmly welcomed, and many Libyans are happy
to invite visitors to the home. However, it is common
for men and women to be separated if they do not belong
to the same family. It is also unusual for men and women
to greet with a handshake, and many conservative Muslims
prefer not to greet non-Muslim women in this way either.
This has its roots in Libyan and Islamic customs, and
should not necessarily be seen as a sign of disrespect.
Homosexuality is illegal and strongly taboo.
During Gaddafi, Libya was considered safe to visit,
as the police state kept crime and riots in check. Crime
and violent crime have now spread due to the collapse of
the judiciary. In large parts of the country, lawless
conditions exist, with armed militias vying for power.
This is a situation that the Libyans themselves feel
deeply uncomfortable and strange.
Modern western clothing is the norm in cities,
especially among men, but is also mixed with traditional
garments. Women wear Muslim veil (hijab) over hair, neck
and shoulders, and in more conservative families, the
veil also covers the face (niqab). Non-Muslim female
visitors are not expected to cover their hair, but
should dress conservatively. In a business context,
formal attire usually applies to men's suits.
Alcohol is prohibited in Libya, in accordance with
Muslim practices. Many Libyans associate alcohol with a
lack of morals, abuse and crime, much like drugs are
considered in Sweden.
The holidays of Islam fall according to the lunar
calendar, which is shorter than the solar year, and thus
moves over the year; they fall a few days earlier for
each year. During the fasting month of Ramadan, a Muslim
may not eat, drink or smoke as long as the sun is up,
but this is taken again after the breaking of fasting (iftar).
The fasting and the night wakes can be very tiring,
especially in the years when the Ramadan falls in the
summer heat. Non-Muslims should respect this by
discreetly managing or consuming day-to-day consumption.
The most important Islamic celebrations are id al-fitr,
which concludes the Ramadan, and the major sacrificial
feasts id al-adha, which is celebrated by the slaughter
of a sheep. Prophet Muhammad's birth (mawlid) is also
celebrated, but some so-called Salafists (ultra-Orthodox
Sunni Muslims) oppose it.
Libya's independence was proclaimed on Christmas Eve
1951, after which it was celebrated National Day on
December 24. The revolt against Gaddafi in 2011 and its
consequences resulted in a couple of holidays. After
Gaddafi, they also continued to pay attention on May 1
as a holiday.
Attack on oil terminals
Forces loyal to Libya's dawn launch the attack on the
country's most important oil terminals, Ras Lanuf and
al-Sidra. The ports controlled by the Tobruk government
and account for about half the oil exports are closed.
IS is said to have training camps in eastern Libya
The information comes from the US military.
Three young activists who were kidnapped are found
beheaded in the port city of Darna (see October 2014).
The three had reported on the situation in the city via
social media. Several Islamist groups are fighting over
Darna, which the government has not controlled since
Struggles in southern Libya
The Tebu and Tuareg (see Population and Languages)
are reported to have collapsed in the area around the
city of Obwari.
Offensive in Benghazi
Khalifa Haftar has been running since October to try
to recapture areas occupied by Islamists. More than 200
people are reported to have been killed.
Caliphate is proclaimed in Darna
An Islamic state is proclaimed by a group that claims
to be loyal to the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group,
which is primarily active in Iraq and Syria.
Nearly half a million refugees
According to the UN, over 331,000 people in Libya are
in need of help, of which 287,000 are internally
displaced around Tripoli and Benghazi. Another 100,000
have fled to neighboring countries from the fighting.
Bloody battles in Benghazi
Up to 100 people die in connection with two car bombs
followed by fighting.
UN Special Envoy Bernardino León leads a meeting in
the oasis city of Ghadamis between members elected to
Parliament (in Tobruk) but so far boycotted the work,
and those parliamentarians who have taken office.
Abuse in Tripoli
The militia groups that have been fighting Tripoli
have probably committed war crimes, reports Human Rights
Watch. Libya's dawn has continued with abuses against
journalists, government officials and ordinary
civilians, it says.
Tripoli government is presented
Omar al-Hassi, who has been appointed prime minister
by the militia groups now controlling Tripoli, presents
his government. Libya's dawn essentially controls the
al-Thani reinstated in Tobruk
64 out of 106 current members of Tobruk vote for him.
Call for ceasefire
Libya's UN ambassador has warned of full-scale civil
war and the UN Security Council is now adopting
sanctions against people who have been guilty of human
rights violations, attacks on ports, foreign missions
and government buildings, and illegal oil exports. Many
residents are said to have moved from Tripoli.
Misratamilis questions the legitimacy of Parliament
The militia alliance, which now calls itself the dawn
of Libya (Fajr Libya), questions the legitimacy of the
new House of Representatives. Parliament, in turn, calls
Libyan dawn a terrorist organization.
Misratamilis takes control of Tripoli airport
In collaboration with other militia groups,
Misratamilisen manages to drive away the Zinan militia,
after a month of fighting. The airport is largely
destroyed after the fighting. The Misrata Alliance,
which is considered Islamist, now largely has control
over the capital.
Parliament is assembled - in Tobruk
The newly elected House of Representatives is
assembled for the first time. It would have happened in
Benghazi but it is considered too dangerous. Around 170
members participate in the meeting. Representatives of
the Arab League and the Islamic Cooperation Organization
(OIC) are present.
Britain closes embassy
Thus, almost all Western countries have left Tripoli.
The British fleet is on its way with a ship to evacuate
New battles in Benghazi
About 40 people die fighting in the battles between
Haftar's forces and Islamists. A militia group occupies
an army base where a special force has been placed.
Fuel dumps are burning
The very large depot in Tripoli has been hit by a
rocket. The government is fearing a disaster and is
calling for support from the outside world.
The fighting in the capital is soon described as the
most serious since 2011. Around 100 people have been
killed and around 400 injured in the battle for the
Foreigners are evacuated
UN personnel are relocated to Tunisia and all air
traffic to the capital is canceled. The US evacuates all
remaining employees at the Tripoli embassy. More and
more countries are gradually calling on their citizens
to leave Libya.
Fighting in Tripoli
Following a minor incident at a UN facility, armed
clashes occur around the capital. At the airport, the
Zintan militia that has controlled the area since
Gaddafi was overthrown against the rival Misratamilis in
collaboration with other militia groups.
Oil terminals pass to the government
The two remaining terminals, in Ras Lanuf and al-Sidra,
return to government control (see April 2014). al-Thani
and the leader of the militia group that previously held
the ports appear in a joint press conference and give
Kidnapped Tunisians are released
A Tunisian diplomat and another embassy employee are
released after being held for two and three months,
Parliamentary elections are held
On June 25, the second election is held since Gaddafi
was overthrown. The election applies to 200 seats in
Parliament, but only 188 are added - in other cases,
boycotts or a lack of security means that no candidate
is elected. A total of more than 1,600 candidates stand,
all individually; no party lists appear this time. Voter
turnout is 18 percent.
Prime Minister Maitiq resigns
The decision of the acting head of government will
since the Supreme Court annulled the election of him. In
practice, the country has had two prime ministers, since
the representative Thani is one of those who refused to
approve his election and therefore never formally
Suicide bombings against Haftar
Four people are killed and several are injured in the
attack on Haftar's headquarters in Benghazi. Hooks are
on the scene but escape.
New battles in Benghazi
Around 20 lives are needed in a clash between
Haftar's militia and Islamist groups.
The United States is evacuating
Due to the precarious situation, the United States
urges its citizens to leave Libya immediately.
Unclear about Haftar
Exgeneral accuses from its base in Benghazi
government of encouraging terrorism and betraying
Libya's confidence. He calls on the country's highest
court to set up a "crisis government" and organize
elections. Some high-ranking military, several
ministers, the Libyan UN ambassador and a number of
other representatives of government agencies express
their support for Haftar. The government calls him a
Parliamentary elections are announced
Despite the chaotic circumstances and warnings that
Libya is on its way to civil war, the Election
Commission announces that elections will be held on June
Fighting in Tripoli
The Libyan National Army (LNA) attacks, among other
things, the parliament building and says it wants to
drive away Islamists. Two are killed and about 100 are
injured. Several countries close their embassies in
Tripoli because of the security situation.
Hard fighting in Benghazi
At least 80 people are killed in fighting erupting
when an armed force known as the Libyan National Army
(LNA) attacks an Islamist militia for the purpose of
driving it out of the city. LNA is led by former army
general Khalifa Haftar who broke up with Gaddafi and had
a leading role in the 2011 uprising.
Kidnapped ambassador is released
Jordan's ambassador is released after being detained
for a month. He is unharmed. It is unclear if the
kidnappers have been heard demanding that an imprisoned
Islamist be released in exchange.
New Prime Minister is appointed
After a stormy process, Parliament appoints
businessman Ahmed Maitiq as new acting prime minister.
He is given two weeks to appoint a government.
The parliament building is stormed again
Armed men storm the parliament building as members
try to vote for a new prime minister. Several are
al-Thani wants to leave
Parliament votes for Abdullah al-Thani (see March
2014) to form government. Just days later, he announces
that he wants to retire, following an armed attack on
him and his family. But Thani and the government remain
until a new head of government has been appointed. The
political stalemate seems to persist.
Oil terminals are reopened
The Zuwaytina and Hariga terminals, which have been
blocked since July, can be opened when the authorities
regain control. A deal has been reached with the rebels
following the failed attempt in March to sell oil
illegally. According to the settlement, the rebels, who
demanded a larger share of the country's oil revenues,
should receive some compensation and avoid prosecution.
UN ban on illegal oil exports
The Security Council adopts a resolution condemning
all attempts to illegally export crude oil from Libya,
and imposing sanctions on vessels participating in any
attempt to do so anyway.
Prime Minister Zidan is dismissed
A vote of no confidence is carried out as a result of
the failure to force the oil tanker. Defense Minister
Abdullah al-Thani becomes acting prime minister.
Zidan threatens to bomb oil tanks
The threat from Prime Minister Zidan then comes
rebels who control three major ports in the east planned
their own oil exports with a North Korea flagged ship.
The oil tanker must have taken at least 234,000 barrels
of crude oil on board. This is the first time an attempt
has been made to export oil from the rebel-controlled
ports. The oil tanker manages to get through the
barricades and out into the Mediterranean but after a
week the US military takes control of it, on behalf of
the governments of Libya and Cyprus. The intention is to
return it to Libya. It is unclear where the ship was
heading, and who owns it.
al-Saadi Gaddafi extradited from Niger
Gaddafison is handed out despite having previously
been granted asylum (see November 2011). He is
suspected, among other things, of having shot at
protesters in connection with the revolt against his
father, when he was the commander of the special forces.
The Parliament building is stormed
A guard is killed and six members of the National
Congress are injured when young people, equipped with
knives and knives, protest that a sit-down demonstration
has been broken up. The Transitional Parliament is
moving its business to a hotel.
Elections to the basic election assembly are held
The 60 members who will write a new constitution are
elected so that one third each come from the regions of
Tripolitania, Cyrenaika and Fezzan. Almost a third of
voters are said to have registered for the election, and
in the end, only half are voting.
The National Congress mandate expires
The Provisional Parliament extends its mandate to
December, as there is no constitution and no new
elections have been held. Many Libyans protest against
Violent women war victims
The government's decision that women who were raped
in connection with the 2011 uprising should be regarded
as victims of war means that they can receive
compensation just like wounded combatants. The ICC has
claimed to have evidence that Gaddafi ordered government
loyal forces to use rape as a weapon.
Chemical weapons are reported to be destroyed
Foreign Minister Mohamed Abdelaziz states that the
entire Libyan arsenal has been destroyed, including
bombs and artillery pieces filled with mustard gas.
According to Abdelziz, Libya has been assisted by
Canada, Germany and the United States.
JCP leaves the government
The Muslim Brotherhood Party has for weeks tried to
put a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Zidan,
without success. JCP accuses Zidan of failing to
guarantee security and ordering the electricity and oil
Deputy Prime Minister murdered
The shooting takes place when the Deputy Minister
visits his hometown of Sirte. It is unknown who is
behind the first murder of a transitional government