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51% of the Lebanese support civil marriage and 42% are against the Fatwa issued by Kabbani || Newspapers (Arabic)


The Fatwa issued by Mufti Kabbani against civil marriage continues its ripple effect… The Higher Shiite Council recently declared that “the institution refuses the concept of civil marriage from a religious, national, legal, and ethical perspective”.  The Council called however for the creation of a framework for a national dialogue on this subject in line with the provisions of the Constitution and the Lebanese social contract.  The Coalition of Beirut Associations declared for their part its full and unequivocal support to Kabbani’s Fatwa as well as its total refusal to even discuss this matter which it considered to be non-constitutional and in full violation of the Islam. The matter was further exacerbated by speeches during last Friday prayers in various parts of Akkar, Baalbak, Beirut and Tripoli as the Muslim clergy demanded that the matter be banned from discussion!
However, former PM Sa3ed Hariri openly criticized during a interview on TV the Mufti’s Fatwa stating that the declaration of apostasy is unacceptable and hoping that civil marriage will be codified in Lebanon but following an in depth social dialogue.
For its part the Lebanese Communist party noted that move towards discussing ad codifying civil marriage is a legitimate step forward yet insufficient as the starting point should be the adoption o f a civil family law.
Along the same vein, a recent opinion poll carried out by Information International showed that 51% of the Lebanese support optional civil marriage whilst 46% support religious marriages, 31% of Sunni citizens support civil marriage and 66% religious marriages. As for Kabbani’s Fatwa the poll showed that 42% of the Lebanese are against it, while 26% support it while the remaining 22% considered that were ambivalent towards the Fatwa. Looking within the Sunni community, the opinion poll showed that 53% of its members supported the Fatwa and 27% were against it.
The resurgence of interest in civil marriage has prompted the emergence of several forms of dynamics on social media and civic actions.  A new face book group supporting civil marriage created a facebook page entitled “We got married and we hope you will be next” whilst an anti civil marriage group has created another page called “No to Civil Marriage!”,  the latter group shares the views of the clergy on that matter.  On another level, a petition for civil marriage is currently circulating on the social media and is seeking to collect 10000 signatories to ask for endorsing the first civil marriage contracted in Lebanon, while other activists have also called for a sit in on Monday 4th of February at 4:00 PM, at Place de L'Etoile under the slogan: I am for a civil state, I am for a civil individual, I am for civil marriage”.
Source: Al-Diyar, Al-Nahar, Al-Mustaqbal, Al-Hayat, Al-Akhbar 4 February 2013

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