SHAFAQNA– Principal of Sayeda Zeinab Institute for Islamic Studies in Beirut, Sheikh Mohammad Ali al-Haj al-Ameli explains political activities of Lebanon’s Shia community. That is in reaction to remarks by some people who oppose the Shia role in the political arena of the Middle Eastern country.
Shia political activist Sheikh Mohammad Ali al-Haj al-Ameli believes following the end of Lebanon’s Civil War (1975-1990), the Taif Agreement and its consequence, which was the fall of the Christian Maronite’s rule, the Shia community made good achievements and has had active participation in the country’s politics.
He added the Sunnis have had more parliamentary seats than the Shias since the creation of the Parliament of Lebanon (in 1947) and the number of Shia and Sunni parliamentarians was equal only once in 1992 general elections when each sect received 27 seats. Al-Haj al-Ameli said although we should not limit Shia political participation to only the number of lawmakers, ministers or politicians, their increasing numbers still shows a positive and correct political participation.
Sheikh Mohammad Ali al-Ameli told Tyros, an Arab news website, that we have to look at the Shia presence in Lebanon’s politics and government before the 1975 Civil War in order to fully understand their role in today’s political scene; then we can grasp what were the consequences of this war on the Shias in general. In addition, we must have a look at the future of the Shia in Lebanon and its political scene.
The principal of a Beirut-based institute for Islamic Studies further spoke of the Christians’ record in formation of governments and said Christian forces were not very successful politically since the 1943 independence until the 1975 Civil War. He added, Christians never managed to form strong governments and EVEN IF we accept the claim that hidden hands hampered their success, it still does not discharge them of their responsibility.
The Shia political activist later spoke of the problems and challenges the Shia faced in government saying despite all that, the political leaders of the Shia community enjoyed dignity and respect. The young generation was making progress and the Shia community was seeking a political revival.
He elaborated the fact that Lebanon is important for the international community has indeed influenced its domestic political structure. For the Shia, contrary to their huge influence in the Arab country, they never had links with any foreign country and did not act as the foot soldiers of other regional or international power.
Sheikh Mohammad Ali al-Ameli hailed the record of Shia political elite for being full of positive aspects, emphasizing that most of those who take public responsibilities among the Shia are brilliant politicians. He said the Shia community’s turnout (in elections) is low but strong enough to choose such politicians with high moralities and Lebanon as well as the Shia community are proud of them.
According to Sheikh Mohammad Ali al-Ameli, Shias in Lebanon enjoy a shining past but those who oppose them always draw an ugly picture of them, accusing Shia leaders of making politics a hereditary matter. Sheikh al-Ameli response to those criticisms is that: hereditary issues were not limited to the Shia community, all religious and political classes acted like that. If they (anti-Shia politicians) are against inheritance in politics, why they only raise their voice when it comes to the Shia and accept it for other religious communities of the Christians, the Sunnis and the Druze? Are these remarks for the sake of society or for the sake of power?
This news is published on Shafaqna Persian and is translated by Shafaqna English.
Read more from Shafaqna: