Mesqawi Slams Mufti over Lawsuit on Higher Islamic Council Dispute

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The deputy head of the Higher Islamic Council, Omar Mesqawi, slammed Grand Mufti Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Qabbani for filing a lawsuit over a dispute on the HIC.

In remarks to pan-Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat published Friday, Mesqawi said: “The Mufti's lawsuit comes as part of the chaos and the status quo in the country.”

“Against whom is the Mufti filing a lawsuit?” he wondered after reports said that Qabbani took the dispute on the extension of the Council's mandate to the penal court.

The reports said that Qabbani filed the suit over the “fraudulent” extension of the Council that elects the Mufti and organizes the affairs of Dar al-Fatwa, Lebanon’s top Sunni religious authority.

Twenty-one Council members, who are close to al-Mustaqbal movement, extended in December the HIC term until the end of 2013 despite the objection of Qabbani, who argues that the extension is illegal.

“The decision to extend the term of the Council came at the behest of the PM and former premiers and has their signature in addition to those present,” Mesqawi said in a direct challenge to the Mufti.

“The decision of the prime ministers was unanimous although they don't belong to the same political team,” he told Asharq al-Awsat.

Qabbani's lawsuit came against the backdrop of a meeting by the former premiers under Miqati at the Grand Serail during which they gave him until Saturday to call on the HIC, a 32-member body, to convene to set a date for electing Council members.

But the Mufti, who is refusing to hold any meetings at Dar al-Fatwa for considering that the HIC's term has expired, has called for the elections of new Council members to take place on April 14 in a unilateral decision.

Miqati reiterated on Thursday that he hoped Qabbani would convene the Council on Saturday.

“We will meet to discuss the situation” if he doesn't, Miqati said, adding that it was “unfortunate” that the Mufti did not resolve the dispute at Dar al-Fatwa despite several meetings he held with him.

The Mufti's ties with al-Mustaqbal deteriorated in 2011 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.

Comments 2
Thumb ghada12 15 March 2013, 10:21

this is terrible, the christians of lebanon are split, the sunnis of lebanon are split, the shias will be split if they are not already between berri and nassrallah. how is it that we are so easily split? this article makes me sad although I don't really understand the issue but it's just another breakdown of lebanon's foundation.

Missing allouchi 15 March 2013, 13:46

A strong democratic secular state tis the solution...