Qabbani Appoints New Sidon Mufti: Those Criticizing Me are Seeking to Alter Role of Dar al-Fatwa

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Grand Mufti Mohammed Rashid Qabbani appointed on Monday Sheikh Ahmed Nassar as the new mufti of the southern city of Sidon, while lashing out at his critics over his call for the elections at the Higher Islamic Council.

He said: “Those attacking the mufti, his authority, and decisions are seeking to impose dangerous changes on Dar al-Fatwa.”

“We reject these changes as did slain Mufti Sheikh Hassan Khaled in the past over 20 years ago,” he declared.

“We are not concerned with the reports on disputes on Dar al-Fatwa because the mufti of the republic is performing his duties when it comes to electing new members of the Higher Islamic Council,” he said.

Qabbani explained that the previous Council's term was extended at numerous times over a three-year period, which consequently made it past is legal end date of four years.

The previous term therefore lasted for seven years and its members sough to extend it for an eighth one, he said.

“This violates all regulations on extending the Council's term during extraordinary circumstances,” remarked the Grand Mufti.

“What extraordinary circumstances are we talking about given that parliamentary by-elections, municipal elections, and syndicate ones were staged during this period?” he wondered.

Qabbani then wished Nassar success in his mission as Sidon mufti, hoping he would meet his religious and social duties in service of Islam.

Nassar will succeed Sheikh Salim Sousan, whose term Qabbani had refused to extend over the row concerning the Higher Islamic Council.

For his part, Sousan condemned Qabbani's appointment of Nassar, saying that this step will lead to “much confusion and strife” at Dar al-Fatwa.

He said during a press conference Monday: “I am saddened by the situation at the Sunni sect's religious institutions.”

“They should have all worked on uniting their ranks given the critical phase Lebanon and the region are passing through,” he remarked.

“I should be informed of Nassar appointment through official means and until then I will remain in my post,” he declared.

Media reports said last week that Qabbani based his decision on the stances taken by Sousan, who didn't support him in his decision to hold the Council elections.

The former mufti had said that he rejects Qabbani's decision to refrain from extending his tenure.

The Council, which elects the mufti and organizes the affairs of Dar al-Fatwa, has been at the center of controversy after 21 of its members, who are close to ex-Premier Saad Hariri's al-Mustaqbal Movement, extended its term until the end of 2013 despite Qabbani's objection.

The mufti has refused to hold or join any meetings at Dar al-Fatwa, Lebanon’s top Sunni religious authority, and called for the elections of council members.

But last month the Shura Council allegedly deemed the call illegal and canceled the elections. Its decision followed a similar move it made last year when it canceled previous polls set by the mufti for December 30.

Comments 2
Thumb shab 13 May 2013, 17:04

religion is poison

Thumb phoenician 13 May 2013, 19:00

Partition please.