Britain has removed a blog from the website of its ambassador to Beirut in which she praised Lebanon’s late Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah. In her blog, titled ‘The passing of decent men’, Frances Guy wrote that she was saddened by Fadlallah’s death and that the world “needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths.”
Fadlallah was revered by many Shi’ite Muslims across the Middle East and Central Asia, and was known for his moderate social views and for trying to minimise Muslim sectarian differences. But he was designated a terrorist by the United States and Israel because of his links to Hezbollah and his support for suicide attacks against the Jewish state. (Photo: Lebanese Shi’ite Muslim women supporters of Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah wave to his coffin during his funeral in Beirut, July 6, 2010/ Sharif Karim)
A British Foreign Office spokesman said Guy’s blog had been removed “after mature consideration.” The criticism of her blog followed the firing of a senior CNN editor for Middle East news who published a Twitter message that said she respected Fadlallah.
Like the CNN editor Octavia Nasr, Guy later posted an attempt to explain her post. “The problem with diplomatic blogging is that you risk being anodyne or controversial,” she wrote. “Clearly in the last few days I have been the latter. This was not my intent. My comments on the late Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah have now been removed because they were leading to confusion about British policy.” Read the rest of her post here.