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Political Conflict in Lebanon Given Sectarian Guise

ImageThe conflict is not a religious one. It is a political conflict set off by the murder of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in February of 2005. The tensions have escalated during the past three years and have heightened at numerous times, most prevalently during the Israeli war against Lebanon during the summer of 2006.

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Black smoke can be seen in many parts of Beirut

The continued clashes this week in Lebanon, which have left over 40 dead and over 150 wounded since clashes erupted Thursday, have many worried about an escalation of violence similar to that experienced during the Lebanese civil war which engulfed the country from 1975 to 1991. The clashes so far have largely been confined to Muslim Western Beirut and the mountains mainly composed the Druze Muslims.

Because of this, many Western media outlets and those interested in spreading Fitna amongst the Muslims have attempted to paint the conflict as one between the Shia and Sunni Muslims of Lebanon.

Nothing could be further from the realities on the ground. The conflict is not a religious one. It is a political conflict set off by the murder of former Prime Minister Rafic Hariri in February of 2005. The tensions have escalated during the past three years and have heightened at numerous times, most prevalently during the Israeli war against Lebanon during the summer of 2006.

This recent chapter in relations between the pro-government forces and opposition forces (aptly named the "March 14" and "March 8" Forces, respectively, for the large demonstrations each side held on those dates in 2005) escalated with the political decision of the government to outlaw the telecommunications network of Hezbollah and sack the head of security at Beirut's airport, who they saw as too closely linked with Hezbollah. This decision was not made on the basis of sectarian discord but for political reasons – namely, to gain control of operations at the airport and to confront Hezbollah in order to garner more support from the Bush administration, which has invested some 1.3 billion dollars in the government of Fouad Siniora in the past three years.

It is imperative for Muslims to not play the game of many media outlets aiming to create division within the Muslim ranks. A political confrontation being passed on as a religious conflict was done intentionally. The aim is to create disunity amongst the Muslims and an attempt to subtly paint the Muslims as individuals who fight amongst each other to settle a centuries-old feud.

We must continue to ask Allah Almighty to help mankind, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to move away from such conflict, and to help the Muslims unite their ranks to throw off the yoke of oppression that is so widespread in the Muslim world.

About Bilal Dabaja

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  • Hassan A

    Bilal you are right on the money here. What’s funny is that most journalists outside of the Middle east are trying to cover this story. They really have no idea what is going on thousands of miles away.

    Until the media from within the Lebanese state starts to publish some good journalistic work in English for the rest of the world to read, hear and see, we will always be stuck with the same old rhetoric of “sectarian” violence.

    A good debate could result 😉