From AsiaNews, with thanks to Kemaste:
In the past, Lebanon’s Grand Mufti, sheikh Mohammed Qabbani, had urged the Education Ministry “to require schools to set Friday aside as day of rest”. The request had hitherto been met with a chorus of criticism against what was perceived as interference by religious authorities in the internal affairs of the public school system.
Recently, Education Minister Bassem al-Jisr, a member of the outgoing Hariri cabinet, told schools to consult with the clergy in their respective neighbourhoods and act accordingly.
Until now such a decision was instead the purview of school-parent councils, free to choose either Friday or Saturday according to their school’s needs on condition that they inform the ministry.
Moreover, the directive remains vague for Mr Bassem al-Jisr did not specify how many clergymen ought to be consulted, to which denominations they should belong and how any difference of opinion should be settled.
The directive did however generate bitterness and anger among Christian teaching staff. Some of them told AsiaNews that the “decision to close on Saturday and Sunday stems from educational and administrative considerations, that is practical reasons, not religious ones”. They urged whoever will be the minister in the new government not to make the school calendar another religious battleground. If the government wants to make Friday a day of rest, let it adopt a law that is national in scope and applies to all grades, schools and institutions, both public and private, not to just to one section of the capital. Some also object that as things are now in various schools in predominantly Muslim neighbourhoods the hour set aside for Christian catechism is not respected.…
The Qu”˜ran itself does not say that Muslims must stop work or study on Friday. All that it does say is that believers meet in the mosque for communal prayer on that day.