Opinion: A "Secular Image" the Way to Overcome Religious Divides

March 12, 2004

Source: The Daily Star


On March 12, 2004 The Daily Star ran an opinion piece by Rabih Khoury, a journalism student at the Lebanese American University, in which he discusses the religious divisions in the country: "Lebanese stereotypes function almost entirely through religion. Now here is the reality of the situation: there are 18 official religions in Lebanon. If we retackle this issue, a second civil war is not that far off. A couple of weeks ago, a project to make the country Islamic was signed and then stopped at the last minute. Religious diversity is not bringing people together as it should, and the supposedly educated mentality of the youth is not narrowing the divide. Religion will remain to be a source of conflict among the Lebanese. But the country is changing ­ the demographic proportions are changing and the concept of 'Lebanon' is changing, too. The only reason for it to survive is by offering a secular image, where all religions can cohabitate and each has the freedom to believe in whatever god he likes to worship. Perhaps one day presidents can be elected not on the basis of their religious affiliation, but rather based on their qualifications."