It was just past noon on Friday in the embattled Sunni neighbourhood of Bab al-Tabbaneh, and over loudspeakers the local sheikh was raging. A few minutes before, gunfire had erupted from near Syria Street, the dividing line between Lebanon’s poorest suburb and the mostly Alawite neighbourhood of Jebel Mohsen. Fighters from these two areas have been warring with increasing regularity in the past few months, an old sectarian battle that’s been inflamed by the war in Syria.
Kids scattered and shopkeepers dragged their wares off the pavement. Then everything went quiet. “They’re just practicing,” laughed 17-year-old ‘Virgo’, who lives in Bab al-Tabbaneh in an apartment with his family, and has a sister living in Australia. Like many kids his age, he doesn’t like the fighting; he goes to school with kids from Jebel Mohsen.
As we drove around the corner, a motorcycle pulled in ahead with a young man on the back flying the flag of the puritanical Salafi practice of Islam, and disappeared up the street. Khaled, a man in his early 30s, saw us as he was walking down the street with grocery bags in his hands. “You should leave soon,” he said. “There’s going to be trouble today.”
They were expecting demonstrations against that video insulting the Prophet, he said, adding that whoever made it “should be hanged”. But he didn’t agree with the violent demonstrations. “It’s not right. Those Muslims aren’t like all the other Muslims.” As he went to walk away, he turned back to our translator, with a concerned look. “Imshee,” he urged, Arabic for ‘go away’.
Read more Via: Global Mail