Sunday, July 4, 2010

Hezbollah spiritual leader, senior Lebanese Shi'ite cleric Fadlallah dies

Lebanon's Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, one of Shi'ite Islam's highest religious authorities, died on Sunday at the age of 74, a medical source at a Beirut hospital said.

Fadlallah had a wide following beyond Lebanon's Shi'ites, extending to Central Asia and the Gulf. He was a supporter of Iran's Islamic Revolution and the spiritual leader and mentor of the Shi'ite guerrilla group Hezbollah in the first years after it was formed in 1982.

A fierce critic of the United States, Fadlallah used many of his Friday prayer sermons to denounce U.S. policies in the Middle East, particularly its alliance with Israel.

He was known in Shi'ite religious circles for his moderate social views, especially on women. He issued several notable fatwas, or religious opinions, including banning the Shi'ite practice of shedding blood during Ashura.

LA Times

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