PM Rejects Divisions, Stresses Holding Higher Islamic Council Polls According to Rulesإقرأ هذا الخبر بالعربية
Prime Minister Najib Miqati rejected on Friday divisions inside the Sunni sect, saying the Higher Islamic Council elections should be held based on rules and regulations.
“We won't allow for divisions,” Miqati told clergymen in the northern city of Tripoli, expressing “keenness” on the Sunni community and the Dar al-Fatwa leadership.
His comment came two days after the Shura Council suspended a call by Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani to hold elections on Dec. 30.
Twenty-one members of the Council, who are close to ex-Premier Saad Hariri's al-Mustaqbal movement, filed a challenge against Qabbani's call, saying the polls are illegal.
The 32-member Council elects the mufti and organizes the affairs of Dar al-Fatwa, which is Lebanon’s top Sunni religious authority.
Qabbani's ties with al-Mustaqbal deteriorated last year when he met with a delegation from Hizbullah the same day the Special Tribunal for Lebanon indicted four party members in ex-Premier Rafik Hariri's Feb. 2005 assassination.
Relations between the two sides were also shaken when the mufti met with Syrian Ambassador Ali Abdul Karim Ali, whom al-Mustaqbal and the March 14 opposition alliance have on several occasions said should be expelled.
“We trust the Mufti but the invitation for the elections will take place according to the rules,” Miqati said Friday, adding “everyone will be happy if we follow the regulations in calling for the polls.”
The Council members who challenged Qabbani's call claim that the Mufti should have consulted them before setting a date for the elections.