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Mohamad Hussein Fadlullah (11/16/1935--7/4/2010)

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Ever misleading the public with respect to the Middle East, the main stream western media began a thousand reports with the words, ""A fiery anti-American critic died." It is nonsense of course. Fadallah was very pro-American in the sense that he often extolled the founding American principles and his relationship with the American people was valued by both. Barely two weeks before his death he left his sick bed to meet with a group of Americans from Washington DC, against the advice of his Doctors, and he urged them to work to preserve the founding principles on which their country was founded and to encourage dialogue between Muslims, Christians and Jews and to end the occupations of this region.

Like the rapidly growing number of American critics of US policy in the Middle East, many of his Fadlallah's Friday prayer sermons denounced arming and supporting serial Israelis aggressions.

For more than 50 years, he worked at "modernizing" the Shari'a and rendering it accessible to modern day youth, addressing their concerns, expectations and fears in a fast-changing world. He was truly the Mufti of the youth and of women, their guide who never oppressed their dreams and always simplified rulings. He was available for questions regarding the most taboo of social and political subjects. He was also the enemy of stalemate and a rejecter of tradition in its inflexible sense. He insisted on subjecting all ideas to discussions, debates and reassessments and was much more interested in human beings than doctrines.

As the Beirut Daily An-Nahar, editorialized this morning, "Sayyed Fadlallah is a unique guide who will be missed by Lebanon and the Arab and Islamic worlds. A long time will pass by before we see the surfacing of someone so tolerant and open-minded who has so much faith in mankind and a wish to cooperate with all the attempts and efforts deployed during the days of friction with all the forces and elites."

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His followers revered him for his moderate social views, openness and pragmatism. Fadlallah issued religious edicts forbidding female circumcision, condemning domestic violence-even allowing women to wear cosmetics and finger nail polish which some clerics opposed, and insisting that women could physically resist abusive husbands. He strongly supported female-male equality. He rejected the blood-letting at Ashoura events and like Hezbollah encouraged his followers to donate blood to the Red Crescent Society instead of cutting themselves. In 2007 he issued a Fatwa forbidding "Honor Killings" which he viewed as barbaric and anti-Islam. He also opposed the call to "jihad," or holy war, by Osama bin Laden and cruised the Afghan Taliban, which he viewed as a sect outside Islam and he was among the first to condemn the 9/11 attacks. Fadlallad opposed "suicide attacks" but distinguished the right of an individual to sacrifice himself as a weapon during asymmetrical warfare by aggressors.

Fadallah supported the Islamic revolution in Shiite Iran, and advocated armed resistance to Israel. In 2009, again during a meeting with Americans, including Jews, Fadlallah, whose family came from the southern Lebanese village of Ainata, reiterated his call for a Muslim-Jewish dialogue as part of interfaith efforts aimed at bridging the gap among various religious, rejecting any offense against Jews or Christians in any Arab or Muslim country. But he emphasized to the delegation the importance of a Muslim-Jewish dialogue away from Zionist influence, stressing that Jews need to be freed from the cycle of world Zionism and Israel should be confronted because of its occupation of Arab lands.

He welcomed the election of Barack Obama in the US, telling the Wall Street Journal in 2009 that "some of Obama's statements show that he believes in the method of dialogue". He added: We don't have a problem with any American president, but our problem is with his policy that might affect our strategic interest." He later told visitors of his disappointment at President Obama's Middle East policy, accusing him of being "under pressure" from Israeli supporters and "not a man who has a plan for peace".

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Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah had a widespread reputation for piety and scholarship through his teaching and the more than 40 books and treatises he wrote. He established religious schools and foundations, clinics and libraries as part of the charitable Al Marrarat Foundation. Among them are the following, open to all of Lebanon's sect and foreigners alike, which comprise part of his living legacy.

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Since 2013, Professor Franklin P. Lamb has traveled extensively throughout Syria. His primary focus has been to document, photograph, research and hopefully help preserve the vast and irreplaceable archaeological sites and artifacts in (more...)
 

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