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Lebanese judge finds creative way to sentence 3 men who vandalized Mary statue

STATUE VIRGIN

Photo12 - Gilles Targat

Vierge dans une niche à Lyon.

Aleteia Arabic - published on 02/21/18

Even prime minister supports Christian's handling of Sunni Muslims' violation.

Earlier this month, three young Lebanese men of the Sunnite Muslim faith entered a church in northern Lebanon and vandalized a statue of Mary there.

The young men were arrested on the charge of “offending religious feelings,” a charge especially sensitive because Lebanon is a country in which religious beliefs are fervently held and which has suffered greatly due to the lack of respect for peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims.

The judge of the court in northern Lebanon, Josline Matta Khoury, a Christian, decided to make these young men memorize a part of the Surah of Al-‘Imran (about the Family of Imran), which is a chapter of the Quran that speaks about the Virgin Mary and her family. The judge chose this sentence instead of sending the young men to prison. When the judge had made sure that the delinquents had memorized the indicated part of the Surah, she gave permission for them to be released.

The political reaction

While some expected a negative reaction to this decision from the Christian judge, exactly the opposite resulted. In fact, a great many Lebanese—starting with the Prime Minister, Saad el Haririr, who is a Sunni Muslim—have welcomed the decision with great respect, and have considered it a sign of culture and peaceful coexistence.

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This article is translated from Aleteia’s Arabic edition.

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