Lebanon News

Jumblatt: Christians, Druze facing extinction

Progressive Socialist Party Leader Walid Jumblatt says the Sunni leadership’s moderation does not change the fact that the Sunni grass-roots are slipping into extremism. (AP Photo/File/Hussein Malla)

BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader Walid Jumblatt said that Druze and Christians were on the way toward extinction, while expressing concern over the discrepancy between the Future Movement’s moderation and Sunni communities’ extremism.

“We are on the edge of extinction,” Jumblatt told As-Safir in an interview published Friday, answering a question about the Druze and Christian roles in Lebanese politics.

“Each side has played a role at some moment,” he added. “The Druze played their role in the era of Prince Fakhreddine, and the Christians played a significant role in Lebanon’s history.

“But [Christians] have not drawn the right conclusions,” he continued, calling on Christian parties to gather under the umbrella of the Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai and adopt a consensus presidential candidate.

As for the Druze, he stressed that they are “Lebanese and Arab,” and that any idea of a Druze project separate from the Lebanese entity is “crazy and suicidal.”

Separately, the PSP leader said the Sunni leadership’s moderation did not change the fact that the Sunni grass-roots were slipping into extremism.

“The speeches of Sheikh Saad Hariri and our friend Fouad [Siniora] in the iftars joining the elite of the Lebanese society are important,” Jumblatt said. “But the Sunni base is in a completely different place.”

He stressed that the biggest threat was not that the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria actually reaching Lebanese soil, but the group’s ideology reaching Lebanese Sunni minds.

“The speeches made by those claiming to represent moderate Islam are important,” he explained. “But the ground is changing and we are touching this and seeing it well in Roumieh prison, Tripoli, Western Bekaa and Arsal.”

Jumblatt dismissed that idea the Future Movement officials’ moderate behavior was solving the extremism problem among the Sunni community.

“The security treatment is very good,” he said. “But there is a need for political, social, economic and ideological treatment. There was a young man who went to the Iranian Embassy [in Beirut] and blew himself up. Where was he brainwashed?”

Jumblatt said the fact that the Iranian Embassy suicide bomber was living in Sweden meant that there is “a whole new generation that we will lose control of.”

He praised the coordination between different security sources but called on the Lebanese authorities to proceed with the trials of Roumieh’s prisoners.

“Why do we keep this time bomb?” he asked.





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