BEIRUT

Lebanon News

Man’s member severed over interfaith marriage

Relatives sit by Rabih Ahmad as he is treated at a hospital in Beirut, Wednesday, July 17, 2013. (The Daily Star/Stringer)

BEIRUT: A Sunni man from Akkar had his penis severed during a brutal attack by his wife’s Druze family, who opposed the interfaith union. Rabih Ahmad, 39, was brought to Al-Shohar al-Gharbi Hospital in the Chouf late Monday night where he was stabilized and has since been transported to the Rafik Hariri Hospital in Beirut Wednesday.

Ahmad, who hails from the Akkar town of Ahrar, and Rudayna Melaab, 19, from Baysour in the Chouf, eloped two weeks ago in the presence of a Sunni sheikh. According to local residents and officials, the couple had lied to the woman’s family and told them Ahmad was a Druze from the Abu Diab family in Jahilieh, another town in the Chouf.

Melaab’s family discovered the deception only after the two were married and reportedly ensconced in a chalet in Tabarja. After expressing their outrage, Melaab’s family then called and invited the newlyweds to dinner in Baysour under the pretense of reconciling and honoring the marriage.

Instead, the woman’s relatives, led by her brother, who is reportedly a soldier in the Lebanese Army, kidnapped Melaab and dragged Ahmad to the main square of Baysour where they beat him and cut off his penis. According to local news reports, Ahmad arrived at the hospital in critical condition, his penis missing and his testicles ruptured.

The man spoke to Al-Jadeed TV Tuesday, identifying his assailants as his bride’s father and brother.

“They cut it off to set an example,” the victim said.

According to a resident of the village, no one has seen the girl or her male relatives, some of whom come from the nearby Chouf town of Btetir, since the attack.

The Druze are a religious minority in Lebanon known for being fiercely protective of their community. The Druze religion does not recognize converts, making marriage outside the faith even less acceptable than it is among other religions.

Reactions posted on social media networks were mostly of shock and outrage, with many lamenting what they characterized as a sectarian mentality that drives families to reject interfaith marriages, even to the point of assaulting, or even, such as in some past cases, killing one or both spouses.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 17, 2013, on page 4.

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