BEIRUT: Lebanon’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel Latif Derian has called on Lebanese voters to participate in upcoming parliamentary elections without hesitation.
“Any alternative produced by the elections is better than the coercive and corrupt authority, and some candidates are motivated and willing to create change,” he said.
Addressing the Lebanese people on Friday ahead of Ramadan, Derian criticized what he called a “corrupt clique” in power.
He accused them of demolishing “everything that the Lebanese built in 100 years, including the judiciary and the banking sector, as well as Lebanon’s relations with Arab and international countries.”
Derian criticized the “desperate attempts to ruin Lebanon’s identity, belonging and constitution, and destroy the principle of separation of powers in favor of personal feuds and miserable political interests.”
He expressed concern about the military losing stature and power in favor of militias that follow orders from abroad.
Derian also addressed the issue of food security, and said there is a big difference between hunger and starvation.
“People feel hungry during Ramadan because they choose to fast, but starvation is the result of failed policies, corrupt rulers, complete disregard for human rights, and stealing people’s money.
“With your corruption, you have turned Lebanon into a country that suffers from starvation, fear and deprivation, while you keep devouring the money you have unlawfully taken.”
He added that “the Lebanese have naturally lost confidence in the corrupt people in power,” and he called for Lebanon to be given a chance to “breathe.”
Derian called for fraternal relations with other Arab countries, and urged the Lebanese to “stand by one another and rally around charitable institutions.”
He noted that “parties abroad that want to help Lebanon will make sure that none of the aid falls into the hands of the corrupt official authorities.
“We, the Lebanese, have to take care of our charitable and humanitarian institutions, as they are the remaining pillar of stability and continuity, especially as the needs have increased and the capabilities diminished.”
The grand mufti’s remarks came as Economy Minister Amin Salam met with trade unions concerned with food security on Friday.
Most Friday sermons spoke about incredible price hikes, while some activists stormed the Ministry of Energy building in protest against continuous power cuts across the country.
They also highlighted the high cost of subscriptions to electricity generators after the rise in diesel prices.
One protester tore down a picture of President Michel Aoun, usually hung in all government buildings, and said that having him as president “is not an honor, nor does he represent us.”
Cleric Ali Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah called for a “clear map that curbs the collapse” during a sermon from a mosque in the southern suburbs of Beirut on Friday.
“Some people in this country are still betting on people’s ignorance or lack of awareness,” Fadlallah said, “but people are much more aware and will only give their vote to those who are honest and trustworthy in fighting for their interests and the interests of their country.”