Dar al-Fatwa building in Beirut, Tuesday, July 22, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mahmoud Kheir)
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The prospect of having two grand muftis remained Tuesday despite the resignation of six members of Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani's Higher Islamic Council in a bid to dissolve his branch of the body.Mustafa Banbouk, who read the statement of the resigned members, said Qabbani's branch could no longer hold an election for the grand mufti post because so many members of the judicial committee that approves candidacies had resigned now that the body had effectively been dissolved.Predictably, his interpretation has been disputed, with Maher Saqqal, the deputy-head of Qabbani's council, saying the council still existed and insisting that a new grand mufti would be elected Aug. 31 .Saqqal explained that the council had appointed a new member to fill one of the new vacancies, adding, "This makes the current number of the resigned 14 rather than 15 ".He said that even if the council was dissolved in the future, this would not prevent the election of a new grand mufti, pointing to Qabbani's decision last month to expand the electorate who can pick his successor from over 100 to around 2,800 members.
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