Friday, November 30, 2012

The media and al Assir: The Ashoura or the Hezbollah banners?

The media reporting on the Lebanese Shaykh Al Assir phenomenon is feeding directly into the Sunni-Shia tensions in Lebanon.

 One error of reporting is the statement repeated by journalists that the Shaykh wanted to remove the Ashoura banners. Ashoura is the most important event in Shia history. The reality is Al-Assir wanted to remove the banners and pictures of Hezbollah and its leaders. He considered the prominent displays of Hezbollah banners offensive to the sensibilities of the people of Sidon since Hezbollah, according to Al Assir, is supporting and fighting alongside the Assad regime. Hezbollah is a political group, the Shias are a Lebanese sect.

Removing Ashoura banners is an issue for almost all Lebanese Shias- removing Hezbollah banners is a confrontation with a specific political group and not a whole faith group. There is a big difference between the two.

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