Lebanese town bans Muslims from buying, renting property

Religion News Service | 6/26/2019 | Staff
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BEIRUT (AP) — Mohammed Awwad and his fiancee, both Muslims, recently found an affordable apartment for rent online in a town in Lebanon, southeast of Beirut.

The 27-year-old journalist called the number and asked the owner when they could drop by to take a look.

Response - Muslims - Town

He was stunned by her response: Muslims are not allowed to settle in the town, she said.

The apartment owner apologized to Awwad, saying she wouldn’t mind renting to people of any sect but officials in the town of Hadat issued orders years ago that only Christians be allowed to buy and rent property from the town’s Christian residents.

Shiite - Muslim - Man - Fiancee - Sarah

The young Shiite Muslim man could not believe what he heard and asked his fiancee, Sarah Raad, to call the municipality and she, too, was told that the ban had been in place for years.

Hadat is a small example of Lebanon’s deeply rooted sectarian divisions that once led to a 15-year civil war that left more than 100,000 people dead. Christian communities feel under siege as Muslims, who tend to have higher birth rates, leave overcrowded areas for once predominantly Christian neighborhoods.

People - Fear - Feel - State - Policies

“There are people who live in fear and feel threatened and this can be removed through (state) policies that make citizens equal,” said Pierre Abi Saab, a Lebanese journalist and critic.

Three decades ago Hadat was almost entirely Christian, but today it has a Muslim majority because the Muslim population expanded greatly between 1990, when the war ended, and 2010, when the ban was imposed. Since then, the Muslim population has hovered between 60% and 65%.

Ban - Christian - Property - Muslim - Resident

The ban only applies to Christian property — a Muslim resident or landowner of Hadat is allowed to sell or rent his property to Muslims from outside the town or to whomever he wants.

Hadat is the only area where such a ban is publicly announced....
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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