UK envoy eulogizes 'great' Fadlallah

By
July 9, 2010 01:05

World ‘needs more men’ like late Hizbullah mentor, ambassador blogs.

2 minute read.



Fadlallah in coffin

Fadlallah in coffin 311. (photo credit:AP)

The tweet in praise of Hizbullah spiritual mentor Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah that cost CNN senior Middle East editor Octavia Nasr her job on Thursday is nothing compared to a tribute to him that Britain’s ambassador to Beirut posted on her blog.

Under the headline “The passing of decent men,” Frances Guy wrote Monday that “one of the privileges of being a diplomat is the people you meet; great and small, passionate and furious.”

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She said Fadlallah was the politician in Lebanon she had enjoyed meeting most.

“When you visited him you could be sure of a real debate, a respectful argument and you knew you would leave his presence feeling a better person. That for me is the real effect of a true man of religion; leaving an impact on everyone he meets, no matter what their faith. Sheikh Fadlallah passed away yesterday. Lebanon is a lesser place the day after but his absence will be felt well beyond Lebanon’s shores.”

Guy said she felt lucky having had the opportunity to meet Fadlallah.

“The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints. May he rest in peace,” she wrote. Guy’s post of a tribute to the man who strongly influenced Hizbullah, praised and endorsed suicide attacks inside Israel, said Zionists “inflated” the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust “beyond imagination,” and was on the US terrorist blacklist raised eyebrows in the Foreign Ministry.

“Sheikh Fadlallah was behind hostage-taking, suicide bombings and other sorts of wanton violence, but Ambassador Guy said he was a man of peace, and Ambassador Guy is an honorable woman,” quipped ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor.

It was not clear Thursday whether Israel would lodge a formal protest with the British government over the matter.

British Embassy spokesman: 'Guy's views were hers alone'

A spokesman at the British Embassy in Tel Aviv said the views in Guy’s blog were hers alone. He said that the Foreign Office had released a statement saying that Fadlallah’s “progressive social views” had sparked vigorous debate in the Shi’ite community, and “we very much welcomed the discussion we had with him concerning the position of Muslims in Europe.”

The spokesman said Britain had had profound disagreements with him, “especially over his statements advocating attacks on Israel, but could agree with him when he opposed the call to jihad by al- Qaida’s leader Osama bin Laden.

“The British government does not condone terrorism,” the spokesman said, reading from a statement issued by the Foreign Office after Fadlallah’s death on Sunday. “All parties in Lebanon should adhere to US Security Council Resolution 1701, including Hizbullah, who should renounce violence and give up their weapons.”

The spokesman had no comment when asked whether Guy would face disciplinary action for her blog post.

On Sunday, Nasr wrote in her tweet that she was “sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah... One of Hizbullah’s giants I respect a lot.”

Fadlallah was known to have held relatively progressive views on women’s rights issues.

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