ON THE TERRITORIAL RESTORATION OF THE ABBEY-PRINCIPALITY
The Abbey-Principality notifies all persons concerned of the following facts:
- Since its unlawful territorial dispossession by force on 2 August 1884, the Abbey-Principality has consistently called for the restoration of its former territory in the Fezzan.
- This is evidenced inter alia by the various editions of the Statutes of the Order of the Lion and the Black Cross (the Order was founded in 1883 and has a continuous history to the present day) which make this territorial restoration one of the explicit aims of the Order.
- The Abbey-Principality continues to protest at the occupation of its territory by others unlawfully and by force.
- The Abbey-Principality is the sole legitimate sovereign power in respect of its territory and does not recognize any occupying power, whether “Libyan” or otherwise, as exercising any form of legitimate rule over that territory.
- The Abbey-Principality remains committed to the resolution of its position through diplomatic and peaceful means in keeping with its commitment as a Catholic institution to a strict pacifism.
The following quotations are instructive:
“In the Name of God, the Beneficent, the Merciful. This is the written statement of God’s slave Abu Bakr, the successor of Muhammad, the Prophet and Messenger of God. He affirms for you the rights of a protected neighbour, in yourselves, your lands, your religious community, your wealth, retainers, and servants, those of you who are present or abroad, your bishops and monks, and monasteries, and all that you own, be it great or small. You shall not be deprived of any of it, and shall have full control over it.” (Abu Yusuf, Kitab al-Kharaj, p. 79)
This is the protection which the servant of Allah, Umar ibn Al Khattab, the commander of the faithful extends to them (non-Muslims): “The safeguarding of their lives, property, churches, crosses, and of their entire community. Their churches are not to be occupied, demolished, or damaged, nor are their crosses or anything belonging to them to be touched. They will not be forced to abandon their religion, nor will they be harmed. None of the Jews will live with them in Illiya” (Jersusalem). (Tarikh At-Tabari, Volume 3, p. 609)