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Lebanese Christian leaders Muslim fiancee causes stir | GulfNews.


9/22/16, 4:29 AM

Lebanese Christian leaders Muslim fiancee causes

Right-wing politician Sami Gemayal tells public to stay out of his private life

Beirut: Phalange party leader Sami Gemayel confirmed on the MTV political talk-show Bi-Mawduiyyah
[Objectively] programme on Wednesday evening that he and Carine Tadmouri planned to tie the knot.
The 36-year-old leader reiterated his opposition to electing a president that touted the March 8 agenda, even
if that message was lost for those who questioned Gemayels decision to marry a French-born Lebanese
Muslim woman.
Disappointed Lebanese took to social media outlets to express their disenchantment with the scion of a
leading Christian family for marrying a Muslim though Gemayel was sharp in his rebuttal: I feel sorry
that some people interfere this way in the lives of a young man and woman trying to build a family, and I tell
them, instead of being distracted by peoples lives, care for the country.
Gemayel said that the wedding would occur on October 1, 2016 at his parish, Mar Mikhayel Church, in
Bikfaya, although it was unclear whether Tadmouri would convert to Christianity. Gemayel is a Maronite
Christian whereas Carine Tadmouri, 26, is a Sunni Muslim whose family hails from Tripoli and whose
mother, Jumana Shahal Timery, is a renowned activist in the French Association for the Protection of Tripoli
[Association pour la sauvegarde du Patrimoine de Tripoli].
In his Wednesday interview, Gemayel said there were people trying to harm him by interfering in his
personal life, and added: Whats more important to me is the spontaneous meeting that took place
[between me and my fiancee], and she didnt even know who Sami Gemayel was and I thought she was
[only] French at first, because she looks French.
Ironically, some of the criticisms arose because the Phalange had long been viewed as a far-right Christian
party modelled on the Nazi Party in Germany, with a notorious record during the 1975-1990 civil war when
its members participated in sectarian killings. Sami Gemayel has opened up the party for the first time in its
history and invited Muslims to join.
Even if his decision to marry a Muslim woman was newsworthy, it was not unusual, as conversions between
Muslims and Christians or between Sunnis and Shiites or even between one Christian sect and another,
were part of the Lebanons diversity. The most famous Muslim to convert was Amir Bashir Shihab II (17671850), a Sunni who became a Maronite and ruled largely Christian Mount Lebanon from 1789 to 1840. Riad
Al Solh, independent Lebanons first Sunni Prime Minister converted to Shiism to ensure proper inheritance
to his five daughters, given that Sunni regulations allocate the larger part of the inheritance to the closest
male relatives grandfathers, uncles or cousins if there are no sons.
Critics speculated that Gemayels credibility as a Maronite leader might suffer though this was mere
speculation as the new generation of Lebanese tend to distance themselves from sectarian practices.


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