Lebanese bishops say no to militancy
Last week, the Lebanese Army launched a crackdown on Salafist Sheikh Ahmad Assir after his gunmen attacked a military checkpoint in Abra, east of the southern city of Sidon, killing three soldiers. (Source: AFP)
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Maronite bishops urged Lebanese Wednesday to part ways with armed organizations and rally behind security forces, saying illegitimate weapons would only bring chaos to the country.
“We call [on Lebanese] to abandon armed groups in favor of the legitimate security forces which are the only guarantor for civil peace,” the bishops said in a statement at the end of their monthly meeting.
“Any illegitimate weapons will only draw illegitimate weapons; and then the law of the jungle would prevail, something the Lebanese people reject,” said the bishops.
“The Lebanese people are not pleased with [attempts] to fuel sectarian [hatred] accompanied by the proliferation of illegitimate weapons with security incidents moving from one area to another," they added in their statement.
Supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad in Tripoli, north Lebanon, have been engaged in on-and-off fighting that has claimed the lives of many Lebanese.
The military seized control of Assir’s complex after a two-day battle June 23-24 that left at least 18 soldiers and 28 Assir fighters killed.
Assir had been a staunch critic of Hezbollah and the resistance group’s military involvement in neighboring Syria.
The bishops condemned the intervention in the Syria violence by any Lebanese group.
The bishops also slammed parliamentarians for failing to approve a new voting system to govern this year’s parliamentary elections.
“Parliament’s inability to approve a new election law and covering this failure by extending [Parliament’s term] is unjustified, unconvincing and contrary to the Constitution.”
The statement also criticized the boycotting of the Constitutional Council meetings which led to the lack of the required quorum to act on petitions challenging the extension.
The bishops also pointed to the deteriorating socio-economic crisis in the country and asked: “What is the use of political action if it does not provide the public good?”
Regarding the Syria crisis, the statement called on the Arab and international communities as well as the Syrians themselves to “adopt a political solution and sit at the negotiating table to bring about a just and comprehensive peace.”
They expressed concerns over the rising number of Syrian refugees in Lebanon “which have become a burden” on the Lebanese government, urging Arab and world countries for assistance.
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