Attack on Sunni clerics testing Lebanon peace

sunni clerics attacked 3Four Sunni Muslim scholars were beaten up in two separate attacks in Beirut on Sunday night, testing a fragile peace between the sects and factions that fought Lebanon’s 15-year civil war.

Mazen Hariri and Ahmed Fekhran, both scholars at Lebanon’s highest Sunni seat of learning, Dar al-Fatwa, were attacked by a group of men in the mainly Shi’ite Khandak al-Ghamik area after they left the Mohammed al-Amin mosque in downtown Beirut, security sources said on Monday.

Ibrahim Abdul-Latif and Omar Imani, also Sunni scholars, were assaulted in Shiyah, a Shi’ite district in southern Beirut.

The two main Shi’ite parties in Lebanon, the militant Hezbollah group and Amal, were quick to condemn the attacks and handed over five suspects to security forces, the sources said. They said the five men had been under the influence of drugs.

The extent of the injuries inflicted on the Sunni sheikhs was not clear, but a photo of two of them posted on Facebook showed one in a neck brace and the other with a bruised face.

Lebanon’s civil war ended in 1990 but its political system remains based on sectarian allegiances and the country is plagued by occasional clashes between militant groups and vitriolic rhetoric from some politicians.

Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani said on Monday the attacks were the result of a “political war” by Sunni and Shi’ite leaders. He described condemnations of the perpetrators as insufficient and demanded swift action.

Prime Minister Najib Mikati, a Sunni, said on his Twitter account that the assailants would be held accountable as countrywide protests briefly erupted late on Sunday night.

The two-year-old conflict in neighboring Syria – which pits mainly Sunni Muslims against President Bashar al-Assad, who comes from the Shi’ite-derived Alawite sect – has deepened divisions in Lebanon between some Sunnis and Shi’ites.

Lebanon-based political scientist Hilal Khashan said Syria could be implicated in the attacks as it had warned Lebanese groups not to support the uprising against Assad.

“These were two coordinated attacks. The fact that Hezbollah and Amal were quick to condemn the attacks means they wanted to dissociate themselves,” he said. “There are those in the region that want to destabilize the country, such as the Syrian regime.”

Fingers pointed at Syrian regime

Former Prime Minister Saad Hariri warned on Sunday of the hazards of the sectarian incitement, calling on the Lebanese to exert efforts to prevent sedition in the country.

He accused the Syrian regime of being behind the attacks.

“The regime of (Syrian President) Bashar Assad wants to create tension among the Lebanese, in particularly between the Sunnis and Shiites.”

“The regime will not hesitate to use the dirtiest means to prevent its collapse,” Hariri added.

Hariri called on the Lebanese to hold on to the state and reject whatever targets their security, safety and national unity.

“We reject under any circumstances… to cover up for criminals,” Hariri stressed.

Geagea appeals for calm

Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea on Monday condemned Sunday’s attacks against Sunni Sheikhs and called for calm amid the growing tension in the country.

“I call on the judiciary and security services to bring the aggressors to justice and impose appropriate penalties against them,” a statement issued by his press office quoted him as saying.

“I appeal for everyone not to block roads and [instead] remain calm and [avoid] emotional reactions that do not serve the logic of the state,” the statement continued.

Geagea added that he values Hezbollah and the Amal Movement’s rejection of the attacks.

Reuters/ Agencies

  • unknown

    why is it everytime something happens its blamed on hezbolla/amal/syria. does anyone not think maybe its a couple of thugs who want to start problems on there own? ive been in pleny of fights when i first stepped into the town im from in lebanon only because i was new there and have never been scene.

    • 5thDrawer

      To remain ‘unknown’, you need a faster car … while ‘stepping in’ is always dangerous.
      (Unless you’re old and limping. And look confused. ;-)

  • unknown

    why is it everytime something happens its blamed on hezbolla/amal/syria. does anyone not think maybe its a couple of thugs who want to start problems on there own? ive been in pleny of fights when i first stepped into the town im from in lebanon only because i was new there and have never been scene.

    • 5thDrawer

      To remain ‘unknown’, you need a faster car … while ‘stepping in’ is always dangerous.
      (Unless you’re old and limping. ;-)

  • Prophettttt

    Blame all Sunnis for the Backwardness of some,Blame all Christians for the stupidity of few.Blame all Shiia for the ignorance of few thugs,Blame all the Druze for the flip flop of one,Blame all Lebanese for for the incompetence of their leaders….Great receipt for disaster.
    I do blame all political parties and religious leaderships of both Shiia and Sunni for creating an environment -some intentionally,some unintentionally- where few thugs from either side or one ignorant clergy, can bring the whole country into a backward conflict and wars where everyone will loose,and regretting it afterward is meaningless,and useless.The temple will fall on all.
    Attacking these two clergymen,and violating their personal integrity and the integrity of their clerical position in such a demeaning and humiliating manor is wrong. Such actions should be condemned with the strongest words and actions possible.The thugs who committed this crime , should be punished severely for their actions. No excuses,no buts,and no ands. Such behavior can not be tolerated .
    This is another test for wisdom.Wisdom required by all in order to deal with this disgusting and dangerous incident.

    Notice that I didn’t mention anything about the authorities because everyone is away,the president the prime minister and head of the Parliament.Failed state run by failed leadership.

    • 5thDrawer

      The effects of wars don’t leave quickly Prophet … whether ‘leaders’ are around or not.

  • Prophettttt

    Blame all Sunnis for the Backwardness of some,Blame all Christians for the stupidity of few.Blame all Shiia for the ignorance of few thugs,Blame all the Druze for the flip flop of one,Blame all Lebanese for for the incompetence of their leaders….Great receipt for disaster.
    I do blame all political parties and religious leaderships of both Shiia and Sunni for creating an environment -some intentionally,some unintentionally- where few thugs from either side or one ignorant clergy, can bring the whole country into a backward conflict and wars where everyone will loose,and regretting it afterward is meaningless,and useless.The temple will fall on all.
    Attacking these two clergymen,and violating their personal integrity and the integrity of their clerical position in such a demeaning and humiliating manor is wrong. Such actions should be condemned with the strongest words and actions possible.The thugs who committed this crime , should be punished severely for their actions. No excuses,no buts,and no ands. Such behavior can not be tolerated .
    This is another test for wisdom.Wisdom required by all in order to deal with this disgusting and dangerous incident.

    Notice that I didn’t mention anything about the authorities because everyone is away,the president the prime minister and head of the Parliament.Failed state run by failed leadership.

    • 5thDrawer

      The effects of wars don’t leave quickly Prophet … whether ‘leaders’ are around or not.

  • Tk

    What Harriri said make sense. if you are loosing the war and wanted it divert to a sectarian war, the best way to do it is to attack a fragile democracy.

    • geageaassaoudi

      i hope he used better english than yours

    • 5thTambour

      yislam timmak ya akhi; al amir 7ariri amir al nusra rage3 yanish annasara wal yahoud fi libnan insha’allahou al 3azim

  • Tk

    What Harriri said make sense. if you are loosing the war and wanted it divert to a sectarian war, the best way to do it is to attack a fragile democracy.

    • geageaassaoudi

      i hope he used better english than yours

    • 5thTambour

      yislam timmak ya akhi; al amir 7ariri amir al nusra rage3 yanish annasara wal yahoud fi libnan insha’allahou al 3azim

  • Fauzia45

    ¨The better to keep their thrones and ease of mind did they arm the Druze against the Arab and stir up the Shiite against the Sunnite……… ¨Khalil Gibran

    • MeYosemite

      Gibran said that? I didn’t notice.

      • Hariri Assaoudi

        on this blog anything is possible; they will show you a pic of gibran s book and then add a a statement of their own and tell you: this is what gibran said….

        • 5thDrawer

          Your name should have been ‘Doubting Thomas’. :-)

          • Hariri Assaoudi

            well, blogs like this one makes one not just doubt but automatically believe the opposite of what they say and show; this is what i am trying to tell the people in here; their propaganda is working against them; they are losing credibility day after day… after all they are doing a great job in telling us the truth since people with normal intelligence automatically take the opposite of what they claim as the truth; only an ignoramus like patience2 will follow them blindly however people like this, if we can call them people, will follow anybody who shouts allat akbar, al mawt lil sahayina, al mawt lil nassara, al mawt lil yahoud, al mawt lil kouffar, al mawt lil imberialyya…..al mawt wa almawt…and ultimately they end up by dying themselves by comitting suicide;
            i wish patience2 does commit suicide in his water closet rather than in public; eventually the bomb he is belting himself with will explode while strapping it in the toilets

          • geageaassaoudi

            did you preconise my banning!

          • geageaassaoudi

            can you tell the admins i suffer from onychogryphosis; you remove it it grows again; its like the eye of abel following caen everywhere lol

          • geageaassaoudi

            was just tryting to distract the attention of the admins so they google new words rather than banning people thus raising the level of their falsafism

      • Fauzia45

        Yes ,Gibran said that in ¨Spirits Rebellious,Khalil The Heretic ¨.

  • Fauzia45

    ¨The better to keep their thrones and ease of mind did they arm the Druze against the Arab and stir up the Shiite against the Sunnite……… ¨Khalil Gibran

    • MeYosemite

      Gibran said that? I didn’t notice.

      • Hariri Assaoudi

        on this blog anything is possible; they will show you a pic of gibran s book and then add a a statement of their own and tell you: this is what gibran said….

        • 5thDrawer

          Your name should have been ‘Doubting Thomas’. :-)

          • Hariri Assaoudi

            well, blogs like this one makes one not just doubt but automatically believe the opposite of what they say and show; this is what i am trying to tell the people in here; their propaganda is working against them; they are losing credibility day after day… after all they are doing a great job in telling us the truth since people with normal intelligence automatically take the opposite of what they claim as the truth; only an ignoramus like patience2 will follow them blindly however people like this, if we can call them people, will follow anybody who shouts allat akbar, al mawt lil sahayina, al mawt lil nassara, al mawt lil yahoud, al mawt lil kouffar, al mawt lil imberialyya…..al mawt wa almawt…and ultimately they end up by dying themselves by comitting suicide;
            i wish patience2 does commit suicide in his water closet rather than in public; eventually the bomb he is belting himself with will explode while strapping it in the toilets

          • geageaassaoudi

            did you preconise my banning!

          • geageaassaoudi

            can you tell the admins i suffer from onychogryphosis; you remove it it grows again; its like the eye of abel following caen everywhere lol

          • geageaassaoudi

            was just tryting to distract the attention of the admins so they google new words rather than banning people thus raising the level of their falsafism

      • Fauzia45

        Yes ,Gibran said that in ¨Spirits Rebellious,Khalil The Heretic ¨.