Young Lebanese demonstrate for secularism
What happens when a country mires itself in religious politics and notions of religious identity…
“Sectarianism kills” and “We are for civil marriage, not civil war” read the colourful banners at Sunday’s protest in the centre of Beirut.
Hundreds of young Lebanese gathered to march for secularism in a country that lives under a deeply divisive sectarian system.
Being Lebanese in Lebanon comes second to being a Christian or a Muslim, Shia or Sunni, Orthodox or Catholic.
There are 18 official religious sects and 18 sets of rules, one for each of them.
Because there is no civic code, the law on personal status varies from one community to another. Registration of deaths, births, marriage and inheritance is all handled by religious authorities.
The peculiar result of this arrangement is that different Lebanese end up with different rights.
Muslims, for example, cannot adopt children, Maronite Christians cannot get divorced and it is impossible for many people to marry someone from a different sect.
“This horrible system is ruining our beautiful country. I am here because I want to defend my basic human rights,” said Lama, one of the demonstrators.
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]Young Lebanese demonstrate for secularism,