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Sayyed Ali Fadlallah launches interfaith initiative to contain extremism and sectarianism

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By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem
In 2001, the late Shi’a scholar Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah held a group interview with journalists. Fadlallah was a famous cleric in Lebanon and the Arab world and known in the West since October 23, 1983 when a suicide bomber killed 241 Americans at the U.S. Marine barracks in the Lebanese capital of Beirut. Fadlallah, who died in July 2010, had been accused by the United States of blessing the attack due to his reputation as a “spiritual mentor” of Hezbollah. He vehemently denied both affiliations. He was also the target of an assassination attempt by a car bombing in Beirut in 1985, which according to American leaks was linked to the CIA with collaboration with Saudi intelligence and a Lebanese group. Later, the differences between Fadlallah and Hezbollah publicly revealed that the Islamic Marjaa’ was not at anytime a “spiritual leader” of the Shi’a Lebanese party. Instead, Fadlallah left a legacy of interfaith dialogue and cooperation…