Following are excerpts of an interview with Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo, Sunni Mufti of Mt. Lebanon, which aired on LBC TV on October 14, 2010.
Interviewer: Are you afraid that a war might break out in Lebanon, as long as the resistance remains active?
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: The war that Hizbullah might want to incite would incur a great loss for Hizbullah itself, because it would lose its status in the Islamic and Arab world. People view Hizbullah as fighting Israel, not the Lebanese people. If the weapons of Hizbullah are turned against the Lebanese – that would be a catastrophe.
Interviewer: But hasn’t this already happened in the past?
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: Yes, it has, and this is what distresses us. These weapons were turned against the Lebanese on May 7 , and even before that, with the incidents around the Arab University and Al-Tariq Al-Jadida.
Interviewer: If Hizbullah arms the people, will you let them into your homes without confronting them? Won’t you defend yourselves?
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: I don’t think that we would stand by with folded arms. People have their own personal weapons, of course, but weapons are not handed out in an organized fashion, by any political party. In the past, we supported the resistance against Israel, but today, there is absolutely no reason for us to arm ourselves. Who would we be arming ourselves against? Against Hizbullah? Against the Shiites? This is ludicrous. We do not want to fight the Shiites or to have them fighting us. What we want is to live as brothers in one homeland, and together to confront our enemy, Israel.
Interviewer: Honorable Mufti, if the Shiite Hizbullah is amassing arms, is training people, and arming them, don’t you think – according to what you yourself have said – that the Sunnis’ future is in jeopardy?
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: The future of the Sunnis throughout the region is in jeopardy.
Interviewer: Nasrallah told President Ahmadinejad that Iran was fulfilling its divine duty. Do you agree that Iran has a divine duty?
Sheik Muhammad Ali Al-Jozo: Regrettably, the expressions used by Hassan Nasrallah are always related to... Hizbullah [“The Party of God”], divine victory, divine duty – everything is always “divine” with them. As for the others – they are mere mortals with nothing to do with God. This is inconceivable.
Therefore, I say: The divine war about which they talk must be directed against the enemies. With all due respect to Iran, we say: You must unite the words of the Muslims and stand alongside the Arab states. Nobody can surpass the Arab role, in any shape or form. Lebanon is an Arab state, with strong ties to the Arabs, which we cannot give up. It is inconceivable for the Iranian role to take the place of the Arab role.