October 27, 2012
Lebanon: Muslim Cleric calls For Peace; Immediately Shot Dead
It was just before sunset. The area was extremely tense following news of the assassination in Beirut of Wissam al-Hassan, head of the Internal Security Forces’ information branch. Around 80 gunmen, supporters of the Future Movement or allied Islamist groups, gathered about 500 meters away from the headquarters of the Islamic Tawheed Movement. The gunmen prepared to attack the headquarters, as is common when the security and political situation in Lebanon and Tripoli reaches boiling point.
Sheikh Asmar approached the scene unaccompanied. He spoke to the men calmly, maintaining a demeanor familiar to anyone who had attended his Friday sermons or religious classes. “What you are doing is wrong,” he was heard telling them. “Who do you want to kill? Don’t you know that it is impermissible for a Muslim to shed another Muslim’s blood?”
The men did not reply, instead, they encircled him. It’s likely that Sheikh Asmar didn’t expect a response, given that the highly-charged political and sectarian climate deafens people to all voices of reason. He repeated his appeal, but was cut short by one of the gunmen who fired a bullet into his head, killing him instantly.