Sheikh Hassan Khaled, Grand Mufti of Lebanon, called on mosque preachers at Friday's (4 January) prayers to attach due importance to the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan,and called on them to denounce the Soviet action as an "atheist and flagrant aggression".
GV West Beirut mosque
SV Congregation approaching mosque
SV PAN INTERIOR Preacher leading congregation in prayer (3 shots)
SV & LV Sheikh Hassan Khaled (Grand Mufti) speaking in Arabic and congregation listening (4 shots)
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Background: Sheikh Hassan Khaled, Grand Mufti of Lebanon, called on mosque preachers at Friday's (4 January) prayers to attach due importance to the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan,and called on them to denounce the Soviet action as an "atheist and flagrant aggression". The Moslem religious leader's remarks followed similar denunciations of Moscow's moves by most Arab and Moslem leaders throughout the Middle East.
SYNOPSIS: The Sabbath in West Beirut saw a number of Moslem speakers denounce Moscow's military intervention in Afghanistan. Most conservative Moslems see the Soviet action as an assault on Islam. Apart from South Yemen's lone voice of support, all other Arab nations or organisations condemned Moscow for sending troops to Afghanistan -- or at best, remained silent. During prayers at this mosque, the preacher attacked the Soviet Union and denounced communism. He described the Soviets as atheists, and said they were trying to oppress Moslems. But the preacher also attacked the United States -- locked in a stalemate with Iran over the continuing occupation of their embassy in Teheran. He said Moslems were being assaulted both by leftists and rightists, and he called on all Moslems to resist both America and the Soviet Union.
The Grand Mufti, Lebanon's Moslem religious leader Sheikh Hassan Khaled, then told the congregation that Moscow's intervention was a "flagrant aggression". His remarks echoed a chorus of Moslem condemnation of the Soviet Union, led by Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Iraq rebuked the Soviet Union, putting them on a par with the United States for allegedly trying to dominate smaller countries.
Arab diplomats in Beirut said they feared the Soviet action in Afghanistan would accelerate the superpower race for influence in the Middle East at the expense of its peoples. The diplomats cited Washington's announcement of last Wednesday (2 January) that the U.S. was considering, for the first time, accepting offers of military bases in Egypt and Israel. Condemnation of the Soviet intervention also came from the governments of Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Oman.