| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Expatriate grievances persist. What happens in America’s Detroit?

Complaints of the Lebanese expatriates continue to escalate due to measures taken by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through missions abroad that do not facilitate the voting process, which raised more than one question mark about the background of these measures. The last complaints we received were from the state of Detroit in the United States of America, where the number of registered voters reached 2,100, the majority of whom are Christians and Shiites, and the largest percentage of Christians are registered in the third northern district, especially from Batroun and Koura, in addition to many voters from Zahle.

As in Australia and other countries such as France, for example, members of the community in Detroit complain about the way they are distributed to the polling stations, as it turns out that several stations will have to move to the state of Chicago, i.e. a five-hour distance in the car to the polling station that the consul has set for them, without explaining the reason behind such an act.

According to sources, the pastor of Saint Charbel’s Maronite Church in Detroit, Monsignor Badawi, tried to inquire from Consul Wassim Ibrahim, who is affiliated with the Amal movement, about the measures taken, since Saint Charbel’s Church in Detroit provided a polling room, and when Monsignor conveyed citizens’ complaints about the difficulty of the measures taken, trying to search with him for a solution to facilitate the voting of expatriates in the state.

Consul Ibrahim started shouting at him and hung the line in his face. This prompted Monsignor Badawi to send a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs explaining what is happening in Detroit. The members of the community are talking about the restrictions practiced by Consul Waseem Ibrahim on the members of the community from the Shiite sect known for their opposition to the duo Amal-Hezbollah.

Sources told SBI that Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdallah Bou Habib decided to send Consul Bilal Qabalan, who was previously Consul General in Detroit, to follow up on what is happening in the state, noting that Qabalan is also close to the Amal movement, but he is known for his good relations with all members of the community without discrimination.

It is remarkable that MP Georges Adwan revealed today on the sidelines of the Minister of Foreign Affairs’ confidence-submission session, which did not take place.

When confirming that the ministry responded to the Amal-Party duo’s request when they objected to the distribution of voters in Germany, MP Adwan alluded to discrimination in the ministry’s handling of expatriate voting problems.

It is known that Germany has the highest percentage of Shiite voters in the countries of expatriation, with 10,569 registered, compared to 5410 registered in Côte d’Ivoire, despite the fact that the total number of registered Shiites in the countries of expatriation is 44,967, distributed among America, Africa, and some Arab and European countries.

  • Sawt Beirut International