Grand Jaafarite Shiite Mufti Sheikh Ahmed Qabalan urged the “ruling class” in Lebanon to end wrangling over the country’s oil and gas wealth, asking them to focus instead on the people’s concerns and livelihood matters.

“It is painful to see the people in power trying to secretly put their hand on the oil wealth, while the country is passing through the most difficult circumstances. This wealth belongs to the people, it is their right and we warn against any attempts to steal it,” said Qabalan in a speech during Friday prayers.

He added: “Oil wealth is a red line. We urge everyone to stop wrangling over oil spoils and remember that the (government) budget deficit has exceeded $84 billion, unemployment hit unprecedented numbers adding to the crisis of Syrian refugees and foreign employment,” and many other problems.

Qabalan accused the ruling class of being “power greedy” and indifferent of the people’s concerns while focusing on wrangling over ministerial shares and quotas in the government.