The Mideastwire Blog

Excerpts from the Arab and Iranian Media & Analysis of US Policy in the Region

Michael Young recycling really trashy Church rumors

Sure he offers some points to dispute the really really trashy rumors about Rai, but in giving a platform to the rumors, and at points making them seem open to possibility and perhaps respectable, Young stoops lower than I can remember in the last eight years of reading him… Pretty incredible stuff here:

“For years a lubricious rumor had circulated about Maronite Patriarch Bechara al-Rai. A Lebanese author in Paris, Antoine Basbous, has, so to speak, just torn the covers away by putting it all in print. Regardless of whether the rumor is true, the method of publicizing it remains questionable, as is Basbous’ interpretation of its significance.

In a new book, Le Tsunami Arabe, published by Fayard, Basbous argues that Rai’s recent public endorsement of the Syrian regime is a likely result of the patriarch’s being blackmailed by Damascus. Basbous was the Lebanese Forces representative in France, where he now heads the Observatoire des Pays Arabes. He describes an incident when Rai was still bishop of Jbeil: allegedly, the onetime Syrian intelligence chief in Lebanon, Ghazi Kanaan, had Rai filmed communing rather too tenderly with a member of his flock, and subsequently used this against the clergyman to shape his political attitudes.

Is the story true? If it is, Rai would hardly be the first priest to have a fondness for the fairer sex, even less so in a Maronite Church where, at a certain level of the hierarchy, married men are allowed to become clergymen. Moreover, Rai’s inherent narcissism may predispose him to such acts, whereby every conquest confirms the validity of his self-love.

However, idle speculation aside, the reality is that Basbous offers no solid evidence to substantiate his claim. Publishing a rumor does not make it any less of a rumor. It is surprising that a respectable publishing house like Fayard failed to demand more from the author by way of proof. The charge, if true, is a serious one…”


Written by nickbiddlenoe

November 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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