BEIRUT: The head of the jewelers’ union in Tripoli denied Thursday that any jewelry seller in the city had been prevented from selling Christian crosses and icons.
In a news conference at the Souk Square, Khaled al-Namel criticized some media outlets for publishing reports that affect the reputation of the city and specifically that of the jewelry market in Tripoli.
“I have been working in the market for 60 years, and this is the first time I have heard any such claims,” Namel said, stressing that the claims “harm the city and coexistence among its people.”
He denied that any jewelry seller was threatened in Tripoli, calling on media outlets to commit to “accuracy and caution” while reporting and to “take into consideration the source of the news,” stressing that such news can harm the economic situation in the city.
An Ad-Diyar newspaper report published Thursday said that young salafist men had threatened jewelry sellers in Tripoli over selling such products, while the merchants chose not to attract media attention to avoid a greater risk of being targeted.
Justice Minister Ashraf Rifi had denied the rumors earlier in the day, also stressing that banning alcohol from a religious perspective was rejected.
“Concerning the ban on alcohol, if it comes out of a religious perspective, then it is rejected,” Rifi said. “But if those selling alcohol do not possess the legal licenses, then the interior minister will follow up on the matter.”
Tripoli's mayor made a decision last week to ban alcohol ads in the city, reportedly upon the request of the Muslim Scholars Committee. Many Tripoli activists protested the decision on social media, with some calling it an ISIS-like arrangement.