Lebanese Activists March for Secularism in Beirut

W300

More than 1,000 people marched in Beirut on Sunday calling for the establishment of a secular state in the country which is ruled by a system of power-sharing along religious lines.

"Secularism is the solution," and "The people demand a civil state," the crowds chanted as they marched in Beirut streets waving Lebanese flags.

The demonstration was dubbed "Seculars March towards Citizenship."

Many Lebanese blame the current power-sharing system along religious lines for the majority of problems facing the country, home to 18 religious sects.

Lebanon's system of government is rooted in the National Pact, a 1943 power-sharing agreement adopted after the country won its independence from France.

Aimed at maintaining a balance between the 18 religious communities, the agreement calls for the president to be a Maronite Christian, the prime minister to be Sunni Muslim and parliament speaker a Shiite.

Other government jobs are also allocated according to religious affiliation.

Many Lebanese believe that this power-sharing arrangement is responsible for most of the country's problems, including corruption, cronyism and the devastating 1975-1990 civil war.

Comments 24
Missing youssefhaddad 7 years

Secularism is the solution but it has to be established in the minds of the lebanese before being adopted in the constitution.
As long as some lebanese have sectarian allegiances extending beyond the lebanese borders any system in lebanon will fail.

Missing ulpianus 7 years

It will be accepted in the minds of the people when they stop seeing it and hearing it everyday on TV thanks to our political system...

Thumb chrisrushlau 7 years

Naharnet failed to mention the worst part of the Taef Accord, where the 20% of Lebanese who are Christian get 50% of the seats in Parliament while the 80% who are Muslim get the other 50% percent.
There is nothing subtle or gradual about fixing this. "One man, one vote." In modern terms, one person, one vote.
Ask anybody, say, Al Rahi: is this God's will? Can you call the Taef Accord "democracy"? "Equality"? "Diversity"?
It is a form of slavery.

Default-user-icon Tony (Guest) 7 years

Youssef Haddad got it right. The Lebanese should accept each other as one people andone country. Do not alienate any group and force them to forge an alliance with a foreign country. When all Lebanese feel equal. Lebanon will be heading on the right track to democracy and secularism.

Missing helicopter 7 years

Why are Christians dwindling in numbers throughout the Middle East. Answer that and then resume your philosophy philosopher. Hint.... maybe because it is full of bigots like you?

Thumb Bandoul 7 years

@helicopter, Because they are persecuted by haters and fanatical Muslims like you who worship Iran and want to enslave society and women specifically, in an era that belongs in the year 500. Take you turbines and ideology and stuff them, you’re the bigot and racist and everyone knows it.

Missing ulpianus 7 years

bando2. Your comments are sickening me. Muslims are dying and getting killed in much bigger numbers ( even in %) than christians.

Politics took the peoples of the middle east as hostage. All of them in the same boat. Dont try to impose that the christians are alone getting killed by beasts called muslims. Skip the crap talk.

Default-user-icon LebaneseBeforeAnythingElse (Guest) 7 years

Hello chrisrushlau,

What you just wrote is the perfect proof that Lebanese people are not ready for secularism. In your statement about the unfair percentages, you assumed that every Muslim would vote for a Muslim, and every Christian would vote for a Christian to represent him/her in the parliament. Once we start thinking that all Lebanese should vote for the man/woman who will serve all Lebanese and promote a better life for all of them, we can only then discuss secularism. I really hope we can reach this stage very soon.

Peace be with you my friend.

Thumb jcamerican 7 years

Not true my friend. Even in the United States, it doesn't work that way. Electoral votes counts not the total number of votes. In reality not every vote counts.

Thumb Bandoul 7 years

@jcPretending2beAnAmerican, I tolerate most of your misguided opionions because I respect your right to voice them, but kindly do not titfalsaf about my country's Electoral votes which have nothing to do about the discussion about secularism.

"The Electoral College was established by the founding fathers as a compromise between election of the president by Congress and election by popular vote. The people of the United States vote for the electors who then vote for the President"

In conclusion, every vote counts! Please don't spread your ignorance around.

Missing ulpianus 7 years

Bando2. Again. Show some respect. Just google it, many scholars discuss the fact that votes are getting lost on the way in every democratic system. EVEN in USA.

You have the right to your opinion, but there is not only one opinion.

Default-user-icon BOB (Guest) 7 years

Concerning this 80-20 which is actually 65-35 and the 35 have 50% of the parliament...
Do you remember when it was 30-70 and despite that fact the 30 were allowed just a bit less than 50% of the parliament?
Now that the situation is reversed you want to take the advantage? That's not ethical... AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHY WHEN PEOPLE LIKE YOU STILL EXIST WE CANNOT HAVE A SECULAR GOVERNMENT!

Missing tarator 7 years

It would be interesting to know where you got your figures: 80% and 20%. It's also interesting that you would choose an article about secularism to make these figures an argument in a debate in which they don't matter. If you are advocating secularism, that is one twisted way to do it.

Thumb Bandoul 7 years

@slash, he/she/it is not on crack. He/she/its' mission is to ignite hatred and controversy and he/she/it is succeeding.

Default-user-icon georges (Guest) 7 years

chrisrushlau,your numbers are wrong.in lebanon 40% christians.but arround the world 70%christians.and please look in the dictionary for the meaning of slavery.

Default-user-icon Anti-chrisrushlau (Guest) 7 years

Slavery is when you exclude the majority of a nations people, when you jail their leaders, slavery is when you exile their leaders slavery is when you assasinate their leaders.. The Christians ya chris are the majority and this is democracy, so stop with you dirty sectairian talk.

Default-user-icon Religiondrug (Guest) 7 years

Down with religion... not just in politics.

Default-user-icon Thomas Hornig (Guest) 7 years

Fifteen Million Lebanese Live beyond the borders of Lebanon. 75%, that's TEN million are Christian. The answer to Lebanon's problems...most of them, lies in responding to the answer to the question Why?

Default-user-icon Moderate_Christian (Guest) 7 years

Iraq, Syria & Egypt are countries with Secular systems where Christians exist but are not in power. What is the situations of these? Do you know? Do you read?
At last Lebanon is an Arab country sticked to these countries and will face the same fate. Once Secular system is In Force, Non-Christians in Lebanon will govern everything and Lebanon will become like the above 3 countries where Christians are being humiliated daily since long back or recently... rapes in Egypt, Hundreds of Churches destroyed in Iraq, and soon, God forbid, in Syria...

Thumb lebneneh 7 years

I'm sure that with a little bit of reading and open mindedness you will realise that it's the wars and chaos that lead to the destruction and killing and if you are somewhat objective you realise that in Iraq for example Muslims were killing Muslims too so why do you just see what feeds your fears only. In a real secular state you are a citizen only. Your religion only matters to yourself!

Thumb shab 7 years

Secularism is the solution. Sepperate goverment from religion like in Turkey

Default-user-icon A Christian who loves Moslems (Guest) 7 years

Chrisalu.
First your figures are wrong. 35-65 in lebanon, 50-50 worldwide are more like it.
Second Christians require positive discrimination. Like French Canadians in Quebec. Positive discrimination is when a minority is given an advantageon purpose. Taef accord was also signed by moslem leaders in KSA. It implies positive discrimination. Most moslem Lebanese are not interested in a watered down version of Syria or Egypt which is what Lebanon would be without christians rigths.
As a christian Lebanese I greatly cherish the richness to have moslems with me in the country. Also beyond all the nagging of all,I beleive we have a great diverse country.(compare that to stupid monochrome israel) If moslems start talking like you, and if they dont want positive discrimination for christians, i would think otherwize, I would want division of our cherished Lebanon. We christians will not accept to be treated as a minority. We dont need to. we could be on our own.

Default-user-icon Lebanese Nationalist (Guest) 7 years

No to full sectarianism, No to full secularism. Yes for Federalism or at least Administrative Decentralization.

That is all, thanks.

Missing roger@10452 7 years

A secular form of government in Lebanon will never work. The useless politicians will never vote for it.

Let's stop kidding ourselves and let's go with a federal system within the 10452.