Lebanon News

Muslim religious leaders voice concerns about political tension

From left: Qabalan, Qabbani, Hasan and Assi attend a Muslim spiritual summit at Dar al-Fatwa in Beirut.

BEIRUT: Lebanon’s leading Muslim religious figures expressed concern over the weekend about political tensions prevailing in the country, but voiced confidence in the wisdom of political and religious leaders.

“We express our concerns over the political tension that the country is witnessing these days. We also express our fears of these tensions having negative and dangerous consequences on the overall situation [in the country],” a statement said following the meeting of religious leaders at Dar al-Fatwa in Beirut Saturday.

The Muslim summit was attended by Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani, Higher Shiite Council vice president Sheikh Abdel-Amir Qabalan, the country’s leading Druze spiritual authority Naim Hasan and the country’s leading Alawite spiritual leader Assad Assi.

The leaders also voiced confidence in the “wisdom of political and religious leaders in addition to citizens from all religions and sects.”

In the statement, the participants reiterated, “Muslim unity and the need to work toward rejecting strife that might arise from any attempt to add sectarian character to political disputes.”

They also reiterated their commitment to “national unity, internal peace, Lebanon’s co-existence message and the Army’s role in maintaining the country and its people’s unity.”

The summit called on “the government and its constitutional institutions and civil society bodies to give priority to issues related to deteriorating living conditions.”

The participants also congratulated Lebanese in general and Muslims in particular on the start of the holy month of Ramadan.

After the summit, Qabbani received the head of General Security Maj. Gen. Abbas Ibrahim, who congratulated him on the arrival of Ramadan.

Ibrahim informed the mufti of “the measures that General Security has taken to receive Syrian refugees on the border crossings.”

Ibrahim explained that the period of time it took to cross the border was delayed for many due to the mass influx of refugees.

Ibrahim also informed the mufti that he has given instructions that no refugee be returned to Syria.

He also elaborated on the safety procedures General Security is taking to ensure refugees are well treated.

For his part, Qabbani thanked Ibrahim for facilitating the stay of Syrian refugees in Lebanon.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 23, 2012, on page 3.




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