ASIA/LEBANON - Mufti Shiite proposes a joint Committee with the Maronite Church to resolve confessional conflicts over land ownership

Monday, 17 September 2018 middle east   oriental churches   sectaniarism   dialogue

Beirut (Agenzia Fides) - Lebanese Sheikh Ahmad Kabalan, Mufti Shiite of the Jafaarita school, has suggested creating a joint Committee between the Supreme Shiite Council and the Maronite Patriarchate charged with facing and trying to overcome the conflict between Shiite inhabitants and the Maronite Church in the village of Lassa, in the Lebanese district of Jbeil, due to the dispute surrounding the possession of some land properties. On Saturday, September 15, the Mufti Shiite, in some statements raised by the Lebanese media, "have argued that there are occupations or attempts to seize the properties of the Maronite Church by the residents of Lassa. Faced with these confusing statements and these irresponsible positions, we want to clarify for the thousandth time that we categorically refuse any encroachment on private or public property, especially if they belong to the Church. We are in Lebanon", added Kabalan "and therefore we are aware of the dangers of such acts", reaffirming the availability to establish a joint Committee with the Maronite Church that deals with and resolves cases of property conflicts on the basis of the laws and territorial plans that already govern the real estate changes and punish all forms of illicit appropriation.
In Lebanon (see Fides 1/9/2016) frictional confusion periodically arises around the control of land and real estate. In August 2016, the tension around the sensitive theme of land control by the various religious communities coexisting in Lebanon increased after the Ministry of Finance, led by Shiite Ali Hassan Khalil, had expressed his intention to implement a decree signed in 2015 which provided for the expropriation by the State of shared land adjacent to Aqoura, a village inhabited mostly by Maronite Christians, such as villages and towns in the district of Jbeil.
In autumn 2013, a pressing call to curb the improper use of lands belonging to Christians to build houses for Muslims was launched by Talal al-Doueihy, leader of the "Lebanese Land, our Land" Movement. The appeal denounced in particular the case of Al-Qaa, a Christian village near Baalbek, in whose area large plots of land had been bought by Muslims-Shiites and Sunnis - as agricultural land, to be then destined for the construction of residential complexes for sale to Lebanese and Syrian refugees belonging to their own religious community. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 17/9/2018)