Dearborn gathering to honor Lebanon's former prime minister
February 8, 2008
By NIRAJ WARIKOO
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Lebanese Americans are set to gather tonight in Dearborn to mark the third anniversary of the assassination of Rafic Hariri, Lebanon's former prime minister.
Up to 1,000 people are expected to be at the Fairlane Club this evening for an event held by the Future Movement, the group set up in Hariri's memory to carry out his legacy. On Sunday, hundreds are expected to attend an event honoring his memory at a Lebanese center in Dearborn.
AdvertisementThe commemorations are a reflection of how closely the politics of Lebanon are followed in Michigan, home to one of the largest Lebanese immigrant communities outside the Middle East. Hundreds of metro Detroiters have benefited from university scholarships that Hariri funded.
Hariri was killed in a car bomb explosion in Beirut, Lebanon, on Feb. 14, 2005.
"He believed in the youth, in democracy, and in nonviolence," said Waleed Naseef, 57, of Dearborn, who heads the U.S. chapter of the Future Movement. "He had a vision of rebuilding Lebanon."
Hariri was a billionaire who funded a lot of educational programs. Naseef estimated that about 6,000 Lebanese Americans were able to study in the United States because of scholarships Hariri funded.
Ihsan Alkhatib, a Dearborn resident, is one of them. Alkhatib planned to pay tribute to Hariri on Friday night with a speech proclaiming that "the significance of his leadership and vision are eternal," according to prepared remarks.
"It is difficult to over emphasize the importance of Rafic Hariri," Alkhatib plans to say. Alkhatib said he plans to open his speech with a quote from Hariri, who once said:
"No human being has a monopoly on the whole truth; the truth belongs to all people and is seen by each individual from his or her perspective. It is important that we handle things in a civilized, ethical and decent way. It is equally important that we listen to one another and engage in a dialogue."
Contact NIRAJ WARIKOO at 248-351-2998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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