File - Tripoli's Mufti Sheikh Malek Shaar arrives at the Beirut Airport upon his return from Paris, Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2013. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Suddenly, and without warning, the mufti of Tripoli and north Lebanon has disappeared. Sheikh Malek al-Shaar, a prominent moderate sheikh, has not been seen since mid-February, leaving an extensive agenda filled with appointments at his house, the place he had once resolved to take refuge in upon his return from trips abroad as a result of ongoing death threats. A source close to Shaar told The Daily Star the mufti's return was imminent and that his travels had merely been extended.This sense of betrayal has also bred an intense hatred of moderate Islamic figures, the head of which is Shaar. The fact that he is mufti of Tripoli, which is considered a city that embraces Islamists and stands with the Syrian revolution, further irks some of these extremists. A Salafist in Tripoli told The Daily Star that the mufti was not necessarily being threatened by fundamentalist groups.
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