BEIRUT: Controversial Sidon Preacher Sheikh Ahmad Assir warned Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Hezbollah’s leader Friday that he will haunt their nights if they fail to deal immediately with a toy gun that he said featured an audio recording that insults a wife of Muslim Prophet Mohammad when the trigger is pulled.
Addressing both Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah and Berri during his Friday sermon, Assir said: “If you don't take heed of this issue I will not let you sleep at night so long as I live.”
He added that his means would be peaceful but that he would continue until balance is restored in Lebanon.
Assir held up a plastic toy M16 machine gun and said that when the trigger is pulled, an audio recording says, “Hit Aisha,” referring to Aisha Bint Abi Bakr, known in history as the favorite wife of the Muslim Prophet Mohammad.
Aisha is revered by Sunnis but unpopular among Shiites, who resent the fact that she opposed allowing Ali Ibn Abi Taleb, the cousin and son-in-law of the prophet, from becoming caliph following the latter’s death.
Last year, fears of sectarian tensions grew in multi-religious Sidon after Assir criticized the Shiite community, saying that a Shiite sheikh had insulted Aisha.
During his Friday sermon at Bilal Bin Rabah Mosque, Assir said that concerns over sectarian tensions Lebanon will not deter him from pursuing this case.
"Sheikh Hasan Nasrallah and Mr. Nabih Berri, we want to live in peace with you ... These acts by your supporters – and I exclude aware officials in the Amal Movement, the party of resistance, and the Shiite mass which is sometimes the biggest victim because the Iranian project is taking them to a dangerous place – to them I say that the issue has become very dangerous,” Assir said.
The sheikh also announced the establishment of a TV channel dedicated to religious and Lebanese affairs and said that tens of donors are financing the channel.