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Civil marriage tops the headlines of the public political, religious and civil discussions in Lebanon || Newspapers (Arabic)


The issue of civil marriage was at the forefront cabinet meeting yesterday especially in view of the divergence of opinions President Michel Suleiman and PM Najib Mikati which is strangely reminiscent of the events of 1998 when late Presidents Hraoui and Hariri played more or less the same role.
Indeed, President Suleiman reiterated that a draft Civil Marriage Law must be enacted especially since it was previously agreed in 1998.  The President also noted that the Ministers of Justice and Interior ought to be commissioned to either review the prior law proposal or draft a new one since, according to Suleiman, civil marriage is not directed against Islam but is in harmony with the Taef agreement which the president has a duty to honour.
Furthermore, the fatwa of Mufti Kabbani stirred both an uproar as well as a wave of support.  Phalangist MP Sami Gemayyel said that “the declaration of Mufti Kabbani is a violation to the civil state and to the right of each Lebanese citizen to practice what he/she believes in freely.  Gemayel added that ‘any violation to this right is a violation to human rights and to the Constitution.  He noted that ‘every parliamentarian has the right to protect citizens’ right to practice their beliefs”.   On the other hand, Future Movement MP Ahmad Fatfat considered that “it is for the best interest of the Lebanese people not to discuss the issue of civil marriage now”.  He clarified that Kabbani’s Fatwa only applies to those committed House of Ifta.

A number of Muslim Scholars extended their full support to Kabbani’s Fatwa and reiterated that civil marriage is against what the Shari’a dictates. The Islamic Action Front similarly praised Kabbani’s stand and indicated all Muslims, whether they are politicians or ordinary citizens,  must reject this dangerous idea and never discuss it again.

The president of the Hikmeyya Ma3arf Institute, Sheikh Shafic Jradi, clarified that the rejection of civil marriage is an issue agreed upon by both Sunni and Shiite clerics.  He added however that the term “apostate” is not applicable or commonly used as this only relates to he or she who shows a clear rejection of the Islamic faith.

The media coordinator of the Maronite Patriarchy, Walid Ghayyad, noted for his part that the “church does not approve of civil marriage since it is in contradiction with the Christian faith and its view on marriage as being sacrosanct.  It does however approve of civil marriage in the case of non-believers.  He noted that the Church shall not accept an optional civil marriage code because, according to him, this is a contradiction in terms as any law is binding.

Source: Al-Safir, Al-Nahar, Al-Akhbar, Al-Hayat, Al-Diyar, Al-Mustaqbal 30 January 2013

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