Between Charles Malek and Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir

Left to Right: Michel Chiha, Charles Malek and Sheikh al-Asir

Couple of days ago, the Salafist Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir  and his supporters came down to Martyrs Square to protest against Syrian president Bashar Al Assad in downtown Beirut. Facing them was a small group from the Baath party in support of Assad regime.

There was no place for the Lebanese flag yesterday in Martyr Square. The area was under the Islamic and Syrian Flags. The majority of the demonstrators came from Sidon in support of Sheikh al-Asir.

Salafist believe themselves the only correct interpreters of the Koran; seek to convert all Muslims and to insure that its own fundamentalist version of Islam will dominate the world.

There are several countries and movements who support such doctrine and work for it. In a symposium on “Salafism: A Shariah approach and a national demand” on December 28, 2011, Prince Naif of Saudi Arabia said “”Salafism is rooted in the Qur’an and Sunnah and calls for peaceful coexistence with other faith communities and for respecting their rights,” the crown prince said. “We have to stand united against those who launch smear campaigns on Salafism.”

In the view of many, the Arab Spring has turned to An Arab winter. They either do not know their history or they wished that things will change. According to Egyptian Salafist cleric Yasser Borhami (another product of the Arab Spring) Jews and Christians are ‘infidels’ (Al Ahram Online, December 24.2011). His fellow Salafist Mujahedeen in Libya nothing has changed. The following is a desecration of Christians cemetery in Benghazi, Libya. Calling Christians “dogs” and destroying the cross is the new Arab Spring.

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So couple of days ago the salafist “Fataho” (opened) the city. They enter it and settled in a very important place, The Martyrs Square. In the 19th century, the square was known as Place des Canons. During World War I, Lebanon was under Ottoman rule. In 1915, Lebanon suffered from a food shortage due to Ottoman Turks confiscating food from the local population, swarms of locust invading the country, and western blockade by the Allies, intended to starve the Turks out. The effect was a famine, followed by plague, which killed more than a quarter of the population, mainly Christian Maronites from Mount Lebanon. A revolt against the Turks broke out which resulted in hanging of many intellectuals and nationalists on 6 May 1916 in the renamed Martyrs’ Square. Among them were Said akl, Father Joseph Hayek, Abdul Karim al-Khalil, Abed al-Wahab al-Inglizi, Joseph Bishara Hani, Mohammad and Mahmoud Mahmassani, Omar Hamad, Philip and Farid el-Khazen, and Sheikh Ahmad Tabbara. During the civil war, the square was a demarcation line between fighting factions. On March 14, 2005, over a million Lebanese took the street and demonstrated in Martyrs Square for several days which led to the withdrawal of the Lebanese troops from Lebanon.

Yesterday the Lebanese flags vanished from the square. The Lebanon of Michel Chicha, Charles Malek vanished from the square. Lebanon the wonderful and tolerant Christian-Muslim coexistence, Existential and responsible freedom and Openness to the world in space and time had died yesterday.

Yet, you still find Christian leaders saying let the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist rule the region, let us forgot their past and see what they will do in the future. What a naive and ignorant statement. Not every group or person drops its ideology and political program like certain leaders.

Yesterday, Charles Malek and Michel Chicha turned in their graves.

9 thoughts on “Between Charles Malek and Sheikh Ahmed al-Assir”

  1. cedars,

    sorry to burst your buble..With due respect to our philisophical leader Charles Malek..I think you have stuck his name in your article for no apparent reason, it is unfair for him..Your article comes across as if someone is putting a jigsaw puzzle, bringing each piece of the puzzle from a different end of the puzzle..The logic and the names you used for your anology were not used in the proper place, so you did a diservice to Dr. Charles Malek…it is a “C-” article

  2. What the LF and SG has to do with this?
    Since there is nothing that the Christians can do vis a vis islamist groups, the best way to contain them is not by attacking them like the Patriarch is doing rather directing and focusing their attention to noble causes such as human rights, people choices, and democratic practices.

    My 2 cents.

  3. Seeman, if you read what Charles Malek said and wrote, you will know why he is turning in his grave today. Email is his son he will let you know.

  4. Houna I didn’t name the LF or Samir Geagea but I guess you had a feeling I am talking about them. Samir Geagea said “let the Muslim Brotherhood rule” two days ago ….
    Anyway, articles about aoun and his support of wilayat al faqih are coming …

  5. Samir Geagea Said: let the Muslim brotherhood rule…

    A sentence that everyone is using when they want to show how the LF is backing the Muslim brotherhood…

    The logic of DSG behind this sentence was the following:
    – Even we are with a Democratic regime anywhere in the world and especially in the Arabic world, or let us say things as it is, and in capital letters :WE ARE AGAINST DEMOCRATIC REGIMES…
    – A woman is even pregnant or not pregnant, you can’t have both situation… in the same logic, even you are with a democratic regime or you are not… you can’t be standing in between…
    – Democracy is hard, we as LFers know this fact, and it may come with people who we do not like (in ken bil chakel walla bel madmoun) but this is democracy, even you play by its rules or you stand against it…

    DSG sentence was i believe a short translation to this logic, we want democracy, we will wait what a democracy will bring, we will build our political stance toward what it brings as per the actions of these new governors… and if you believe in democracy, you will know that it can correct itself… it is a regime where people can change the regime in a free way…

    now, returning back to what i see and what i believe in relation to Muslim extremism, let me do a small comparison:

    – When we saw our lands being invaded by the Palestinians, when we saw how the Palestinians were killing our families, destroying our churches and putting their hand by force on our society, we took our arms and we went to war, we became Christians extremists… in the same way, the Syrians begun their protests as peaceful demonstrations asking for freedom and democracy, later on the regime begun killing children, women, activist, bombing and destroying mosques… why are we denying to the Syrians what we have done to protect our life, existence and faith???

    I will end my reply with one idea: as long as the regime continue in killing people, as long as the international community will stand silent doing nothing to help the Syrians overthrow this regime, the Muslim brotherhood will get stronger and stronger by the minute… it is better for the Syrian Christians to realize this fact at the soonest and start taking actions against this regime… it is time for all the people afraid of the Muslim brotherhood ruling to start acting and doing instead of only talking about backing democracy in Syria…


    1. scoprion there is something really wrong when he said forget about their past let us see what they will do in the future. It seems he forgot about their past and his past. He forgot what he sued to say ….
      But tell me how come he is ok with let Muslim Brotherhood rule and he is against let Hezbollah rule?

      1. I will reply to that.
        If the Muslim brotherhood were elected in a democratic way in Syria, as they were in Egypt, then yes let them rule. Hezbollah on the other hand, is NOT elected by the majority of the Lebanese for it to rule… hence this comparison does not stand.

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