Derian casts his ballot during elections at Dar al-Fatwa in Beirut, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. (The Daily Star/Stringer)
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Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian was elected Lebanon's new grand mufti Sunday, reflecting consensus among Sunni leaders that ended three years of tension between the Future Movement and outgoing Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani.Speaking shortly after his election, Derian promised to work on enhancing the unity of the Sunni sect and defuse tension between Sunnis and Shiites in Lebanon. Of the 93 votes cast in the election, the new grand mufti, whose term will officially begin Sept. 15, received 74 votes, with nine for Sheikh Ahmad Kurdi, eight blank ballots and two canceled.Derian condemned the lack of religiosity among some members of the Muslim society; he also called for fighting religious extremism.Acknowledging that relations between Shiites and Sunnis were not good, Derian pledged to work for the unity of Muslims in Lebanon and to ward off the threat of strife.Derian asked, pledging to show solidarity with Christians oppressed by extremist Muslims.
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