Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Senior Lebanese Shi'i Scholar Rejects an Iranian-style System; Grand Ayatullah Fadlallah Criticizes Sectarianism in Distributing Cabinet Portfolios

Lebanese Muslim Sunni (Hariri Inc.) Mufti Muhammed Rashid Kabbani (left) greets Muslim Shi'i Mufti 'Abd al-Amir Qabalan, head of the Supreme Shi'i Council, the country's official Shi'i religious institution, during a spiritual meeting of Muslim sects at the Druze Council headquarters in Beirut, 28 November 2006.
(MARWAN NAAMANI/AFP/Getty Images)
By Karim Tellawi

BEIRUT, Lebanon: Lebanon’s Higher Shi'i Council’s vice-president Shaykh 'Abd al-Amir Qabalan said Lebanese Shiites were not in favor of Iran-style "rule of the jurisprudent." In a statement, he said: "We don't want the rule of the jurisprudent in Lebanon. Shi'is don't want to change the regime in Lebanon, and we also don't favor a rule of the jurisprudent in Lebanon," Qabalan said. "We hide nothing from the Lebanese, we love Iran, but the rule of the jurisprudent cannot be applied in Lebanon."

Fadlallah Slams Role of Religion in Cabinet Talks
By The Daily Star (Lebanon) Staff

June 7, 2008

BEIRUT: Senior Shi'i cleric Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah said on Friday the ongoing debate over the distribution of the different portfolios in the next cabinet shows that the formation of Lebanese governments is not based upon competence and expertise but rather on sectarian considerations.

In his weekly Friday sermon delivered from the Imamayn Hassanayn Mosque in Haret Hreik, Fadlallah said the problem in Lebanon lays in the fact that politicians are trying to reduce the country's size to that of individuals. "Politicians are trimming down the size of the country instead of boosting its position by producing the necessary elements that bring it back to its great location when it used to settle Arabic problems and serve creative culture," he said.

According to Fadlallah, sectarianism remains the Lebanese people's problem. "Sectarianism constitutes a privilege to leaders and not a means to serve the people of this or that sect," he said. "This is why those people add to their fortunes at the expense of their sects, while the deprived are getting poorer."

Criticizing the United States, the cleric said it went back to playing with our internal political situation. "The U.S. administration is trying one more time to interfere in the formation of the new cabinet and bringing to ministries whoever it wants as if the country is one of its districts or a plot of land belonging to one of its embassies," he said.

Meanwhile, the vice president of the Higher Shi'i Council, Sheikh Abdel-Amir Qabalan, said that Lebanon is currently living in a state of "worry, provocation and insecurity. We should not remain tight-lipped over the concern, viciousness and harm that are plaguing the country," Qabalan said in his Friday sermon. "The ongoing media incitement also increases that concern."
Qabalan said the Doha agreement should be implemented "in one basket." "We do not want a caretaker government. We want a national unity government that enjoys competence and good planning."

Qablan urged Prime Minister Fouad Siniora to treat people equally and not to allow certain sects or categories to monopolize ministries. "We call on all parties, of all sects, to make concessions and eliminate any discord between Muslims and Christians," he said. "We want a state of security and not a state of chaos. We should establish a government and give every minister the power he needs to work in the political and social fields."

Addressing the residents of Beirut, Qabalan said: "Some people hurt you and you hurt them back. So we have to turn over a new leaf, forget the past and work for spreading peace and stability. We should also allow the state, army and security forces to fulfill their duties," he added.

Fadlallah's Sermon (excerpt)

Sectarianism abolishes Citizenry

"In Lebanon, political debate continues regarding the issue of distributing the ministerial posts on the sects and their leaders and those who seek to benefit from them to promote their chances in the coming elections, which suggest that forming Lebanese cabinet is not based on qualifications, and expertise, but on sectarian considerations that make individuals bigger in the eyes of their sects.

The problem in Lebanon lies in that politicians are trimming down the size of their country instead of boosting its position by producing the elements that bring it back to its great position, when it used to settle Arab problems and serve creative culture.

The tragedy is that every sectarian leader has come to embody the entire sect so that sectarianism is constituting a privilege to sectarianism leaders and not a means to serve the people of this or that sect. This is why those people add their fortunes at the expense of their sects while the deprived are getting poorer."

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