BEIRUT: The head of the Arab Tawheed Party, former Minister Wiam Wahhab, walked off the set of a TV talk show Friday, angered by the comments of a Muslim Scholars Committee member accusing him of defamation.
Wahhab was being interviewed on Al-Jadeed’s “Al-Hadath” talk show, when Sheikh Amin Raad, a member of the Muslim Scholars Committee involved in negotiating the cease-fire in Arsal, called to respond to one of the guest’s comments.
Raad condemned Wahhab for allegedly accusing the Muslim Scholars Committee of being terrorists and pro-ISIS, despite the scholars’ efforts in ending the bloodshed in the recent Arsal clashes.
“Is this how the Muslim Scholars Committee is rewarded? By receiving accusations of being terrorists and ISIS-ist?” Raad said.
Wahhab rejected the criticism, saying he had not accused the Muslim Scholars of anything and asking the anchor to cut the phone call with the latter refusing.
Tensions then rose between the three, who began shouting simultaneously until Wahhab walked out of the studio.
The host, Samar Abou Khalil, then moved to Al-Jadeed’s correspondent in Arsal for live coverage, after which Wahhab rejoined and criticized Al-Jadeed’s “mistreatment.”
“You don’t have the right to let someone into the debate without my permission,” Wahhab said, adding that his comments had not mentioned Raad, making the latter’s intervention “inacceptable.”
Wahhab explained that he hadn’t accused the Muslim Scholars of terrorism or links to ISIS, and that all he had said was that “they tricked the state” in the recent Arsal deal.
However, after the incident, Wahhab accused the Muslim Scholars Committee of having links to Hassan Qatorji, whose deputy, Abou Omeir al-Homsi, he said was in prison on terrorism charges.
“They are the ones who tricked the Army, and the state. They are the ones who allowed the smuggling of the detainees and now they started maneuvering and saying they lost contact with them.
He later slammed the committee, accusing them of being “charlatans,” with plans to destroy the country, masked with an image of mediators “with good intentions.”
The Muslim Scholars Committee, which was behind the end of Arsal’s clashes, negotiated a deal that was to release all the abducted army soldiers and policemen.
After the militants withdrew from Arsal, the committee said it had lost communication with them, leaving the destiny of dozens of Lebanese security troops in the hands the escaping militants.