BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Lebanon's Arabic press digest – July 4, 2014

Lebanon's Arabic press digest.

The following are a selection of stories from Lebanese newspapers that may be of interest to Daily Star readers. The Daily Star cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.

Al-Mustaqbal

Machnouk: We will protect churches and mosques with our lives

Commenting on the mounting concerns over threats against churches, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk was critical of any party that made such threats.

These groups, he said, “have no faith.”

"Whoever even thinks about harming churches or mosques, [know that] we will protect our churches and mosques with our lives and we will cut off the hand that harms them,” Machnouk told Al-Mustaqbal.

Al-Joumhouria

Full-scale alert following threat against Christians

Concerns heightened after the so-called Free Sunni Brigades in Baalbek threatened to “burn and destroy” Christian places of worship across Lebanon, especially in the Bekaa Valley.

The threat raised question marks about the party that issued it; namely who stands behind it, whether it even exists or was it part of an intelligence game to lay the groundwork for something more dangerous, i.e. the destabilization of Lebanon.

Complicating the issue, an audio recording claiming to be by Qalamoun’s Nusra Front Emir, Abu Malik al-Shafei, has emerged on social media, voicing support for "the inmates in Lebanon prisons,” with special mention for Roumieh prison.

A senior security official told Al-Joumhouria that while these threats are considered serious, information circulating in the country is inflated and exaggerated.

The official dismissed reports that spoke about the presence of a group of suicide bombers that had been trained and equipped to carry out suicide operations in Lebanon.

As-Safir

Education Minister: Is there a decision to shut down the Lebanese University?

The government has once again disappointed university professors. The first time it was the Future Movement that had blocked their requests, now it was the Kataeb Party.

Education Minister Elias Bou Saab is expected to have a comprehensive report ready for next week’s Cabinet meeting.

"I cannot predict the outcome [of the meeting],” Bou Saab said. “I can only say that if this issue is not settled in next Thursday’s session, I don’t think it will ever see the light.”

“Not only am I worried about the academic year, but I'm afraid that a secret decision has been taken to close the Lebanese University," he said.

In response to a question, Bou Saab told As-Safir that the LU can absorb between 1,400-1,500 fulltime professors, however, the report being prepared aims to hire only 1,100 permanent professors.

An-Nahar

No organizational presence of the Islamic State in Lebanon

A source who had taken part in the meeting between Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk and Muslim scholars told An-Nahar that the Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), has no organizational presence in Lebanon and no Emir.

However, their arrival in Lebanon cannot be ruled out, in the light of their growing potential and the spread of the sectarian conflict from Syria to Iraq.

 

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Summary

Commenting on the mounting concerns over threats against churches, Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk was critical of any party that made such threats.

The threat raised question marks about the party that issued it; namely who stands behind it, whether it even exists or was it part of an intelligence game to lay the groundwork for something more dangerous, i.e. the destabilization of Lebanon.

The official dismissed reports that spoke about the presence of a group of suicide bombers that had been trained and equipped to carry out suicide operations in Lebanon.

A source who had taken part in the meeting between Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk and Muslim scholars told An-Nahar that the Islamic State, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), has no organizational presence in Lebanon and no Emir.


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