Following are excerpts from an interview with Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo, the Sunni mufti of Mt. Lebanon, which aired on MTV (Lebanon) on June 6, 2010.
Interviewer: Do you think that sectarian politics [in Lebanon] could be abolished, and the senior positions be divided in a more balanced way – there would be a Maronite president, then a Sunni president...
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: That would be better.
Interviewer: Do you see this happening in the future?
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: If we don’t reach this solution, each sect will try to gain power. Who is the real president of Lebanon? Hassan Nasrallah, who has cannons and machine guns, and can kill. He invaded Beirut on May 7, 2008. The president, the prime minister, and the government can no longer formulate foreign policy.
Interviewer: What is your problem with the weapons of Hizbullah?
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: That they were used within Lebanon. Hizbullah is more than welcome to continue its resistance against Israel, even if this leads to the destruction of my home, because of Hizbullah’s false claims that it was liberating Lebanon and defeating it. The truth is that it cannot defend South Lebanon or the southern suburb of Beirut. We saw what happened in the 2006 war – not a single bridge remained intact.
Interviewer: Some people say that Hizbullah did defend...
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: That’s their opinion. Everybody is entitled to an opinion. My opinion is different. Nasrallah himself said that if he had known that this would be the outcome, he would not have kidnapped the soldiers.
Interviewer: But there are Israeli soldiers who were traumatized in the 2006 war, and they are still undergoing treatment.
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: So what? Israel held its leaders accountable for their mistakes. Can anybody hold anyone accountable here?
Interviewer: If a war breaks out today between Lebanon and Israel, do you think that the Lebanese people will be united, like in the 2006 war?
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: No. I think that many things will be different.
Interviewer: What things?
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: We have lost the sympathy we had for one another. When the weapons were used within Lebanon...
Interviewer: The people of South Lebanon found refuge in the homes of Beirut.
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: I think that the honor and dignity of the Lebanese... In times of distress, people are...
Interviewer: Would you welcome refugees in your home?
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: I had many people in my home, but eventually, we were cursed. My entire region welcomed these people, but nobody showed any gratitude.
Interviewer: Would you welcome people in your home today?
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: Let me say again...
Interviewer: A simple “yes” or “no” will do...
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: In light of what happened – the circumstances will determine this. I can’t say “yes” or “no” right now. It depends on the circumstances.