THE LEVANT- Grand Mufti Mohammad Rashid Qabbani used his Eid al-Fitr sermon to call for “jihad” to liberate “Palestine’s sacred land from Jewish foreign occupation.”
Jihad “is the duty of each and every one of you no matter how much sacrifices are made,” he said, while deploring Arab weakness and apathy in confronting the ongoing Israeli offensive on Gaza.
More than 1,000 Palestinians have been killed and over 6,000 injured in three weeks of fighting between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Some 43 Israeli soldiers also died in the violence.
Speaking at the Mohammad al-Amin Mosque in Downtown Beirut, the mufti urged Lebanese politicians to put their rivalries aside and focus on electing a president and holding parliamentary election for the sake of salvaging Lebanon.
“Electing a new president and holding general elections after agreeing on a new electoral law that represents not only the majority will enable the state to recover its role in the service of the people and the nation,” Qabbani said in his Eid al-Fitr sermon in Mohammad al-Amin Mosque in Downtown Beirut.
“Lebanese (politicians) should hurry in order to salvage their nation before the boat sinks with all of us.”
The Sunni mufti lashed out at Lebanese politicians, whom he accused of indulging “in arrogance and individualism, while the people are reeling under poverty.”
Parliament has failed so far to elect a president to succeeded former head of state Michel Sleiman, whose mandate expired on May 25. Nine attempts since April have proved to be futile due to persisting divisions between rival parties over a consensus candidate for the state’s top post.
General elections that were due in May 2013 could not be held due to disagreements on a new electoral law, which is expected to be more representative of minority groups. The poll was postponed for more than a year until November 2014, consequently entailing the extension of the existing chamber’s mandate. The fate of November’s polls are still up in the air, as no progress has been made on passing a new election law.
Commenting on the persecution of Christians in Iraq, Qabbani said “it is not Islamic rule.”
He cautioned that attacks targeting Christians in Mosul would backfire on Arabs and Muslims and were “a prelude to the destruction, division and disintegration of the Arab nation.”
North Lebanon’s Mufti Malek Shaar echoed Qabbani’s concern over attacks targeting Christians in the Levant in his own Eid al-Fitr sermon, and deplored the persisting Israeli offensive in which more than 1000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza.
“I appeal to world’s conscience to stop the eviction of our Christian brothers in Mosul, the displacement happening in Syria and the massacres taking place in Gaza,” Shaar said after bishops in the north congratulated him on Eid al-Fitr.
“We Muslims, will not rest until our Christian brothers, notably in the Levant, are able to live in peace, security and tranquility.”