BEIRUT: A gathering of Beirut’s imams and preachers rejected the use of the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque in Downtown as venue for the divided Higher Islamic Council, after convening in Dar al-Fatwa over the weekend.
The group said that by holding meetings at the mosque the council would transform it from a place that “calls on worshipping God,” to a place that “consolidates political conflicts.”
Divisions within Dar al-Fatwa began to surface last year when the 21-member council extended its own term until the end of 2013, a move that Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani argued was illegal. The mufti refused to hold or join any meetings at Dar al-Fatwa and called for the election of 32 council members on April 14.
Qabbani’s call for elections was suspended by the Shura Council, after the 21 members of the council, who are close to the Future Movement, challenged the decision.
The divided council, split between supporters of Qabbani and deputy head Omar Miskawi, issued separate statements about the turmoil in Tripoli over the weekend.
Qabbani’s council said in a statement that the recent assassinations and explosions were an attempt to drag Lebanon into strife and sectarian struggles to destabilize the country and disrupt the security situation.
The statement was issued after Qabbani presided over a meeting of Dar al-Fatwa’s recently elected council in the Beirut neighborhood of Aisha Bakkar. The council was elected in April 14.
The council also welcomed the plan being implemented by the Army and the Internal Security Forces in Tripoli and called on “the security forces to tighten their security measures in face of dangers that are threatening Lebanon and its people.”
Meanwhile, Miskawi’s council, which extended its term, convened at Rafik Hariri Hall in the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque in Beirut Saturday.
In the statement that was issued after, Miskawi warned that Tripoli’s economy was on the brink of collapse and its school year was regressing due to the intermittent fighting. Miskawi blamed the tension in Tripoli on the lag in the ongoing investigations of the Aug. 23 bombings that targeted two mosques in the city.