Mufti Qabalan Orders Vote for Hezbollah, Amal in Lebanon Elections

Hezbollah supporters wave flags during a gathering to mark al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Beirut's southern suburb on April 29, 2022. (AFP)
Hezbollah supporters wave flags during a gathering to mark al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Beirut's southern suburb on April 29, 2022. (AFP)
TT

Mufti Qabalan Orders Vote for Hezbollah, Amal in Lebanon Elections

Hezbollah supporters wave flags during a gathering to mark al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Beirut's southern suburb on April 29, 2022. (AFP)
Hezbollah supporters wave flags during a gathering to mark al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day in Beirut's southern suburb on April 29, 2022. (AFP)

Jaafarite Mufti, Sheikh Ahmad Qabalan issued on Tuesday what could be interpreted as a "religious order" by calling on Shiite followers to vote for the Shiite duo of the Hezbollah party and Amal movement in the May 15 parliamentary elections in Lebanon.

He said the elections were a form of "major worship and religious duty", barring a boycott of the polls or the submission of a blank vote.

He described the elections as "fateful" and "one of the greatest obligations before God."

"The elections are a decisive national, religious and moral duty," Qabalan said during a sermon on the Eid al-Fitr holiday marking the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

"Hesitation is haram [religiously forbidden], abandoning the electoral battle is forbidden, submitting a blank vote is forbidden, because the country and state are a blessing from God lest you squander them. Whoever abandons the electoral battle is abandoning one of the greatest duties before God ," he warned.

Moreover, he framed the elections as an American-regional plot aimed at "eliminating" and "Zionizing" Lebanon.

"Neutrality is therefore a great crime," he added.

The elections will "liberate" political decision-making and "save the country from treacherous tutelage", alleged Qabalan.

"The issue is not about who can reap a homogeneous parliamentary majority, but rather about national priorities and goals. Everything else is marginal," he remarked.

Addressing all Lebanese, regardless of their sect, he declared: "We want to live together away from the mentality of a victor and a vanquished and away from psychological barriers and abhorrent republics."

"The sectarian political experience has torn us apart and divided us. It has transformed our one national family into statelets of fear, spite and boycott that is exploited by the ruling elite and their family deals and barbaric cartels," he lamented.

By voting for the Shiite duo, he said, the people would be voting in favor of "burying a sectarian system in favor of a national one."



Clashes Escalate in Sudan’s North Darfur

Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)
Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)
TT

Clashes Escalate in Sudan’s North Darfur

Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)
Rapid Support Forces members. (AP)

Clashes renewed on Monday between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in several locations in North Darfur, while each side claimed to have inflicted the other with heavy losses in lives and military equipment.

Eyewitnesses said fierce ground clashes took place early in the morning in the vicinity of El Fasher, and around the Zarq and Um Baar areas, which are controlled by the RSF.

Meanwhile, residents fear counter-attacks following threats launched by several RSF leaders, who vowed to strongly respond to the killing of Ali Yagoub Gibril, one of their senior commanders during a battle in the besieged north Darfur city of El Fasher last Friday.

Social media accounts affiliated with the RSF posted videos showing violent clashes that took place Monday in the Um Baar area.

The video also showed destroyed military and armored vehicles of the army and the armed movements backing it.

Since the outbreak of fighting in Sudan, the RSF has pushed large numbers of its forces to capture the town of El Fasher. The city is the army's last stronghold in the western Darfur region.

On Sunday, RSF commander Mohammed Hamdan Daglo, also known as Hemedti, blamed the escalation in El Fasher on armed factions “that have abandoned neutrality and chosen to side with their slaughterer.”

A resident of El Fasher said the Eid Al-Adha celebrations were completely absent, and that many residents did not leave their homes to perform religious rituals for fear of bombs targeting residential neighborhoods.