Patriarch Rai’s miter is being criticised for a recent visit to Syria
Beirut – Georges Chahine
Lebanese lawyer Wadie Akal has filed a formal complaint with prosecutors, after a Saudi newspaper published an “offensive” cartoon depicting the head of the Lebanese Maronite church.
The al-Watan newspaper cartoon showed Patriarch Beshara
Rai in a derogatory manner, Akal claimed, after it depicted his mitre as a rocket while the common letters between Rai and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s names were highlighted.
Cartoonist Jihad Awrati reportedly wanted to criticise the Christian leader following a visit to Syria over the weekend.
The Lebanese lawyer has accused the newspaper’s publisher, its editor-in-chief and the cartoonist of slander, aiming to incite violence and sectarianism.
Akal has called for al-Watan to be banned in Lebanon. Those responsible for the cartoon should be arrested, he told prosecutors.
In January 2010, another Saudi newspaper was forced to apologise to Patriarch Rai after an article written by journalist Abdel Aziz Bertawi accused him of attempting to “Christianise” societies across the Middle East.