Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian gestures upon arriving at Dar al-Fatwa in Beirut, Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. (The Daily Star/Mohammad Azakir)
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Just a block away from the residence of Taha Kayal, the suicide bomber who targeted a popular cafe in Jabal Mohsen last month in a Nusra Front-orchestrated attack, Sheikh Mohammad Ibrahim holds a card, the only proof of his affiliationwith the highest Sunni authority in the country.With the election of Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian last summer, the internal division sown during the last years of former Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani's term was thought to have come to a formal end.The area is often said to have an especially high percentage of practicing radical imams, and Dar al-Fatwa controls only one of the 12 mosques in operation there.For Sheikh Rafei, the head of the Committee of Muslim Scholars, which in the past has reproached Dar al-Fatwa for not adequately representing the true voice of the Sunni street, providing legal support for the families of the detainees will be a great test for Derian's reputation.While the committee had its own candidate to run against Derian, Sheikh Ahmad Darwish al-Kurdi, Rafei maintains that rather than a competitor, the committee can complement Dar al-Fatwa's work in north Lebanon.
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