Lebanese demand civil marriage on home soil

1 / 2
Lebanese demonstrators carry placards during a gathering against the ongoing ban on civil unions outside the Ministry of Interior in the capital Beirut on February 23, 2019. (AFP)
2 / 2
Lebanese demonstrators carry placards during a gathering against the ongoing ban on civil unions outside the Ministry of Interior in the capital Beirut on February 23, 2019. Arabic writing on placard reads:"I want civil marriage in Lebanon because I have a phobia of flying." (AFP)
Updated 23 February 2019
0

Lebanese demand civil marriage on home soil

BEIRUT: Dozens of protesters rallied in the Lebanese capital Beirut on Saturday, calling on the government to recognise civil marriages carried out on home soil.
The demonstrators gathered in front of Lebanon's interior ministry, days after recently-appointed Interior Minister Raya al-Hasan said she is willing to engage in "serious and profound dialogue" over the issue.
The minister's comments prompted a backlash from religious bodies, including the highest Sunni authority in Lebanon, and stirred debate on social media.
Lebanon has 15 separate personal status laws for its recognised religions but no civil code covering issues such as marriage.
Many Lebanese couples travel to neighbouring Cyprus to tie the knot in a civil ceremony, because Lebanese authorities recognise such unions only if they have been registered abroad.
Hasan, the first female interior minister in Lebanon and the Arab world, touched on the issue of civil unions in an interview with Euronews last week.
She said she would "personally endorse" attempts to establish a framework to govern civil marriages in Lebanon.
"I will try to open the door for serious and profound dialogue on this issue with all religious authorities and others, with the support of Prime Minister Saad Hariri," she said.
Dar al-Fatwa, the highest Sunni authority in Lebanon, issued a response the day after Hasan's interview was published, saying it "categorically rejects" civil unions conducted on Lebanese soil.
Such unions "violate the provisions of Islamic law" and "contravene the provisions of the Lebanese constitution" regarding the authority of religious courts over personal status issues, it said.
The highest Shiite authority in the country also expressed opposition.
"The Lebanese constitution recognises that every sect has its own personal status laws," deputy head of the Supreme Islamic Shiite Council said Friday.
"We strongly oppose civil marriage because it violates the constitution," he said.
The head of Lebanon's Maronite church, Beshara Rai, however, said he was "not against civil unions" conducted on Lebanese territory.
In 2013, the interior ministry took the unprecedented step of registering a civil marriage conducted in Lebanon.
However, only a handful of civil marriages have been recognised since the landmark decision, campaigner Lucien Bourjeily told AFP on Saturday.
Former president Elias Hrawi in 1998 proposed a civil marriage law, which gained approval from the cabinet only to be halted amid widespread opposition from the country's religious authorities.


Egypt refers 28 to court on charges of joining Daesh, al-Qaeda

Updated 8 min 26 sec ago
0

Egypt refers 28 to court on charges of joining Daesh, al-Qaeda

  • Egyptian officials said only 17 of the 28 suspects are actually in custody
  • They said the suspects were planning to conduct attacks in Egypt

CAIRO: Egyptian prosecutors have referred 28 terror suspects in two separate cases to court on charges of joining local affiliates of the Daesh group and Al-Qaeda.
They said Monday the suspects were plotting attacks against security forces and the headquarters of the high state prosecution in Cairo.
They say only 17 of the 28 suspects are in custody. No date has been set for their trials. It was not clear when or where they were arrested.
A Daesh affiliate based in northern Sinai has carried out attacks across Egypt in recent years, mainly targeting security forces and the country’s Christian minority.
Egypt has been battling militants for years, but the insurgency gathered strength after the 2013 military overthrow of an elected but divisive Islamist president.