Thursday, January 22, 2009

Uproar in Lebanon over rosaries bearing photo of Hezbollah chief

Was I the first one to mention this a few days ago? (Link)

BEIRUT-22 Jan. 2009 (AFP) – Rosaries bearing a picture of Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah have created an uproar within Lebanon's Christian community with some saying the depiction is an insult to Christianity.
"The rosaries are an insult to our Christian beliefs," an official with the Christian Lebanese Forces party told AFP on Thursday. She spoke on condition of anonymity.
"They are an attempt to influence public opinion within the Christian community so that people get used to seeing a photo of Nasrallah next to the Virgin Mary or saints," she added.
She said the Lebanese Forces was not pointing an accusatory finger at Hezbollah but felt that the Shiite Muslim party backed by Iran and Syria needed to take action to prevent the distribution of the rosaries.
Cardinal Nasrallah Sfeir, head of the powerful Maronite Church in Lebanon, which counts no less than 18 communities and where power is divided along religious lines, has also jumped into the fray saying that one should not mix politics and religion.
A Hezbollah official told AFP that the party had nothing to do with the rosaries and accused the rival Western-backed Lebanese Forces of trying to create dissension among the religious communities.
"Why is Nasrallah guilty if people decide to put his picture on rosaries?" said the official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity. "This issue is dangerous."
Last November a photo exhibition by Lebanese filmmaker Jocelyne Saab was ordered to remove pictures deemed controversial, notably one of Nasrallah alongside Christ on a crucifix.
And in 2006, riots erupted in Beirut over a Lebanese comedy program that mocked Nasrallah.


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