BEIRUT: Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammad Rashid Qabbani condemned Friday a recent incident at the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque in Beirut which Dar al-Fatwa said saw a group of youths harassing the preacher delivering a sermon at the place of worship.
Dar al-Fatwa’s General Directorate of Islamic Endowments, in a statement, said a number of youths had hurled insults at Sheikh Hisham Khalifa, the general-director of Islamic Endowments, who was delivering a sermon at the central Beirut mosque.
“A dispute occurred at the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque ... while ... Khalifa was delivering the Friday sermon wherein a number of young troublemakers hurled insults and obscenities and tried to remove Sheikh Khalifa from the pulpit,” it said.
It said at the time of the incident Khalifa’s address focused on “Lebanon and the use of wisdom, patience and the closing of ranks to resolve Lebanese matters.”
In a statement, the country’s grand mufti condemned the “sides behind this form of behavior, which he said was aimed at “inciting strife between Muslims and in their mosques.”
Earlier Friday, some media outlets reported that gunmen had forced the sheikh to step down. Other media reports said men inside the mosque had urged the preacher not to make any reference to former Prime Minister Saad Hariri, whether in positive or negative terms.
The Lebanese Army denied the reports that gunmen had entered the mosque.
"The Lebanese Army leadership denied in a phone call with the National News Agency that gunmen had entered the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque in Beirut," the state-run agency reported.
In its statement, Dar al-Fatwa’s General Directorate of Islamic Endowments said Khalifa completed his sermon “and led Friday prayers as usual,” adding that security forces arrived immediately at the mosque after the youths fled the scene.
It denounced the incident, describing it as “violating the principles and teachings of Islam.”