UK removes blog post praising late Lebanese cleric

Britain`s ambassador to Lebanon angered Israelis and embarrassed officials in London after writing a blog post praising the late Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a staunchly anti-American cleric linked to Hezbollah.

Updated: Jul 09, 2010, 20:25 PM IST

London: Britain`s ambassador to Lebanon
angered Israelis and embarrassed officials in London after
writing a blog post praising the late Grand Ayatollah Mohammed
Hussein Fadlallah, a staunchly anti-American cleric linked to
Hezbollah.

Frances Guy, who has served nearly four years as the
Britain`s ambassador in Lebanon, made her tribute following
the cleric`s death late last week. Writing in a blog carried
on the Foreign Office`s Web site, she called Fadlallah a
decent human being and a "true man of religion."
"Lebanon is a lesser place the day after," she wrote.
"If I was sad to hear the news I know other peoples` lives
will be truly blighted. The world needs more men like him
willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality
of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints.
May he rest in peace."

Officials in Jerusalem were furious. Israeli Foreign
Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor described Fadlallah as an
extremist who inspired "suicide bombings, assassinations and
all kinds of wanton violence."

"The British ambassador must decide whether promoting
terror and giving it religious justification can be considered
a heritage to be cherished," Palmor said.

Britain`s Foreign Office said today the posting had
been removed "after mature consideration." A spokeswoman
declined to elaborate.

Fadlallah has often been described as a spiritual
mentor to Hezbollah - a group classified by the US as a
terrorist organisation.
Hezbollah was a key player in Lebanon`s 1975-90 civil
war and carried out a string of high-profile attacks,
including the 1983 bombings of the US Embassy and the Marine
barracks and French military headquarters in Beirut.

Western intelligence sources said Fadlallah blessed
the drivers of the vehicles used in the attack, an allegation
the cleric long denied.

PTI