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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Beware the Sectarian Divide: The Jumblatt - Hizbulla Split Manifests in Inter-Sect Relations

According to Annahar, the new head of Druze religious establishment (the Sheikh El-Akel) was accepting congratulations on his new appointment.
Notably, representatives of the religious establishments of all the major sects -all but one that is- were present, and so were "rebel" Shiite clerics like the mufti of Tyre, Ali El-Amine. However, there was no one to be seen from the Shiite religious leadership (fadlallah, kabalan,...).
Such moves are inflammatory and even outright dangerous. It is completely acceptable and fully reasonable to expect that the political leadership of various Lebanese sects not see eye to eye, and even to completely disagree and as such be political opponents. On the other hand, it is completely not acceptable that such disagreements between the various "civilian" or "secular" sectarian leaders, reflect on the relationships between the political establishments. For that is when things can take a turn for the worse. The absence of the major Shiite clerics from such an event can only be seen as a slap in the face of the Druze establishment, which may cause a reciprocating slap in the face. This can easily get out of hand and with the political leaderships of these two sects at odds, no good can come out of the religious establishments boycotting each other. Beware...

Note: I am an ardent secularist, and believe in the separation of church (in all its forms) and state. Moreover, I believe in the separation of church and politics. On the other hand, I believe that Lebanon is far from this ideal and that the actions of the various churches have direct consequences on the polarization of the masses. As such, I am only warning against irresponsible behaviour on the part of the churches.

Irrelevant Update: "Suicided" Syrian minister Ghazi Kanaan (who was once in charge of the Lebanese file for a long period of time), apparently shares the bug with his brother Ali, who was recently found "suicided" as well - on railway tracks (Wow, how creative!). Give me a break.

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