British envoy apologizes for praising Hezbollah cleric


JERUSALEM (JTA) — The British ambassador to Lebanon said she regretted praising a deceased Muslim cleric associated with Hezbollah.

Frances Guy said last Friday that she was sorry for any offense caused by a blog post two days earlier lauding Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, who died July 4, Reuters reported Sunday.

A new post on the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s website said that Guy’s earlier posting on the site had been an attempt to "acknowledge the spiritual significance to many of Sheikh Fadlallah and the views that he held in the latter part of his life."

In her original post, on July 7, Guy wrote about the “passing of a decent man,” praising Fadlallah by saying "You would leave his presence feeling a better person. The world needs more men like him willing to reach out across faiths, acknowledging the reality of the modern world and daring to confront old constraints.”

A British Foreign Office spokesman said that Guy did not reflect the British government’s view.

The blog was removed Friday.

Her blog post followed on the heels of the firing of Octavia Nasr, CNN’s senior Middle East editor, who called Fadlallah a "giant" and saying in a Twitter post following his death, "Sad to hear of the passing of Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah. One of Hezbollah’s giants I respect a lot."

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