LF Team Visits Shiite Council, Says State Should Protect All Lebanese
A Lebanese Forces delegation on Tuesday visited the Higher Islamic Shiite Council and met with its deputy head Sheikh Ali al-Khatib.
The delegation, dispatched by LF leader Samir Geagea, has met with several religious leaders in recent days to discuss the dire situations in the country.
Al-Khatib welcomed the delegation, stressing that the Council was founded by Imam Moussa al-Sadr on the basis of “love, rapprochement, cooperation and openness.”
“Imam al-Sadr was the first Muslim cleric to enter a church to lecture and pray,” Khatib added.
Emphasizing the need to “eliminate concerns among the Lebanese and build trust among everyone,” the Council’s deputy chief underlined that “the Shiite decision, with all its components, is against any civil or sectarian war.”
“We are not advocates of war, we pledge that the arms will not be used domestically and it is our religious and national duty to preserve Christians,”
“We will safeguard this special status and we will defend it, and others have to understand the concerns of southerners and the threat posed to them by the Israeli enemy,” the Shiite cleric went on to say.
“The resistance is the result of the Israeli occupation and the state’s weakness and it hinges on the elimination of the threat and the state’s ability to defend its border and people,” he explained.
Commenting on Maronite Patriarch Beshara al-Rahi’s call for Lebanon’s neutrality, al-Khatib said such a solution is not feasible amid “the daily violations of territorial, maritime and aerial sovereignty by a historic enemy.”
He also warned that Lebanon is facing an “existential threat,” urging political forces to shoulder their responsibilities and form “a national unity government comprising everyone.”
Speaking on behalf of the LF delegation, MP Antoine Habchi said “these critical times require extraordinary solidarity” among the Lebanese.
Noting that the authority of the Higher Islamic Shiite Council is respected by the Shiite community and all Lebanese, Habchi added that “since its inception, this Council has sought to preserve Lebanon’s unity, freedom and independence.”
“The foundations that Imam Moussa al-Sadr advocated are the foundations that led to the creation of Lebanon the homeland and the state,” Habchi added.
He also said that in order for Lebanon to rise, there should be a “strong state” that monopolizes the use of “violence and arms,” which would enable it to “protect all Lebanese and protect Lebanon from any attack, be it from the Israeli enemy or any other source.”
Habchi also reminded that Imam al-Sadr had called for the “firmest cooperation with brotherly Arab countries.”