Naharnet

Shaar Says Not Running for Grand Mufti Post Unless Consensual

The Mufti of Tripoli and the North Sheikh Malek al-Shaar stressed on Friday that he will not run for the Grand Mufti post but said that he will not hesitate to assume the tasks if there was consensus on him.

“I will not submit my candidacy for the post but if the rivals agreed on my nomination I will not hesitate,” Shaar said in a press conference.

The dispute between the council led by Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani and that of his deputy Omar Misqawi is the result of political interferences.

Early in June, the head of Dar al-Fatwa's Islamic Endowments, Sheikh Hisham Khalifeh, called for electing a new Grand Mufti in August, but this announcement was met with the opposition of the Higher Islamic Council led by deputy chief Omar al-Misqawi, who demanded the elections to be held as soon as possible.

Grand Mufti Mohammed Rashid Qabbani's term ends on September 15.

The Higher Islamic Council -- which elects the Mufti and organizes Dar al-Fatwa's affairs – became the center of controversy in 2012 after 21 of its members, who are close to al-Mustaqbal movement, extended its term until 2015 despite Qabbani's objection.

The Mufti later held elections for the Council, which were deemed illegal by ex-PMs Saniora and Najib Miqati, and the group led by Misqawi, who argued that the polls violated Shura Council decisions and did not enjoy a legal quorum.

Shaar urged the people of the North and Tripoli to return to their religions values, stressing that the “Islamic and Christian values call for love, which should be applied in the political and daily life.”

“Each and every Lebanese is obliged to maintain the state's entity and the unity of its land and people,” the mufti said.

“Values should prevent us from acting upon our previous grudges.”

Shaar pointed out that there should be no arms but that of the state, calling on Hizbullah to aim its arms towards Israel.

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