Lebanon News

Mufti slams Future Movement over Islamic Council

File - Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani leaves after attending a press conference in Dar al-Fatwa in Beirut, Monday, Jan. 27, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s grand mufti attacked the Future Movement Thursday, accusing it of trying to interfere in the affairs of the Higher Islamic Council.

“I do not interfere with the affairs of the politicians, so they in turn have no right to interfere in my decisions,” said Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, adding that what they are doing is an insult to them rather than him.

Qabbani accuses former Prime Minister Saad Hariri’s Future Movement of seeking to disrupt the election of the Higher Islamic Council’s council members and enact a series of amendments that would detract from the next mufti’s powers.

Qabbani made the comments at Rafic Hariri International Airport after he returned from a visit to Kuwait Thursday afternoon.

There has been a long-running dispute over the elections of the council, which were last conducted five years ago and have been postponed several times since due to heated debates between Qabbani and the Future Movement.

The grand mufti said that there were no currently no communication channels open between his institution, Dar al-Fatwa – the country’s top Sunni religious authority - and the Future Movement.

“It’s not about me as Mohammad Rashid Qabbani because I am leaving in three months and 18 days,” he said, “but god help the next mufti if they [succeed in] applying the amendments before his election.”

Qabbani said that he knew his mind better than the Future Movement. “They are the ones to accuse, not me,” he said, “and I know how to reveal these things in the future.

“My role will not cease by the end of my term, [it will continue] as long as I am alive.”

Qabbani’s visit to Kuwait was at the invitation of the International Islamic Charitable Organization Kuwait, of which he is a member.

Headed by an advisor of the Kuwaiti prince, the organization is active in the field of humanitarian relief and is currently working on the case of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.





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