Friday, July 01, 2005

Fatwa against shooting in the air

Lebanon's top Shi'ite Muslim cleric issued a fatwa edict Wednesday banning shooting in the air after three people were killed by gunfire celebrating the re-election of the Shi'ite parliament speaker. Shooting in the air and setting off fireworks among people or on the streets, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah said, "is forbidden because of its major negative consequences and because it is intimidating and annoying." Rifle shots and automatic gunfire echoed round Beirut well into the night from the moment warlord-turned-politician Nabih Berri was re-elected speaker. Cars beeping their horns tore through the capital, loaded with jubilant youths wrapped in flags and hanging from the windows or sitting on roofs. Supporters of the Amal Movement leader celebrated the same way in Lebanon's south and other mainly Shi'ite areas. "Victims fell because of these practices that reflect weak religious, national and political commitment and a retarded mentality in dealing with special occasions" Fadlallah said in a statement. Stray bullets killed three people across Lebanon, including a young girl. Pro-Syrian Berri has held the post of speaker, the highest political post open to a member of Lebanon's largest sect, since 1992.


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