Lebanese President Michel Suleiman praised former PM Saad Hariri’s backing of the controversial issue of legalizing civil marriage, calling his stance “reasonable and logical” , al-Joumhouria reported on Saturday.
During a phone call with Hariri, Suleiman hailed the former prime minister’s ‘brave stance’ supporting civil marriage, al-Joumhouria added.
In a TV interview with Marcel Ghanem Thursday evening which was broadcasted live from Paris on LBC’s “Kalam Ennass” program , the former Lebanese Prime minister and the leader of the largest parliamentary bloc blasted the fatwa taken by Lebanon’s top Sunni Muslim cleric, Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani:
“The fatwa of the Grand Mufti which considers those who accept civil marriage to be apostates- is unacceptable.” He pointed out that “more than 700 million Muslims in countries like Indonesia, Turkey, Malaysia and other countries all conclude civil marriage. Can the Grand mufti call them all apostates? Is Erdogan an apostate?”, Hariri asked
He added that the issue of civil marriage is a controversial one in Lebanon, but there are young men and women who want to wed in a civil marriage way. “My personal stance is that there must be civil marriage in Lebanon, but we must first reach an agreement through real dialogue.” He stressed
He added “Personally I do not accept that my children marry in a civil union, but as a parliament member I am a representative of the entire nation and of all the people,” he stressed.
This development comes after Qabbani declared war on civil Marriage on Monday by issuing a fatwa branding as an apostate any Muslim politician who approves its legislation.
“Any Muslim with legal or executive authority in Lebanon who supports the legalisation of civil marriage is an apostate and outside the religion of Islam,” he said on the website of Dar al-Fatwa, the official institution for fatwas.
He branded Civil marriage as a bacteria.
“There are predators lurking among us, trying to sow the bacteria of civil marriage in Lebanon, but they should know that the religious scholars will not hesitate to do their duty” and prevent the passage of such a bill. ”
He issued a warning to Muslim officials who support the Civil marriage issue that they would not be eligible to be buried in a Muslim cemetery
“ Such officials would not be washed, would not be wrapped in a burial shroud, would not have prayers for their soul in line with Islamic rules, and would not be buried in a Muslim cemetery,” Qabbani warned
His fatwa came days after President Suleiman’s announcement in Arabic and English on his Facebook page that Lebanon should work on drafting a civil marriage law to help build unity in the multi-faith country. Suleiman’s announcement appeared to have helped the issue gain momentum . 95 % of the respondents reportedly backed the president’s position .
The first one to denounce civil marriage was Prime Minister Najib Mikati who called the debate on the issue a waste of time and useless .