chapter  3
7 Pages

The Secret Society of Beirut

At the same time that Muslims from all parts of Syria were working for the realization of their independence plan, a small group of Christians was active in Beirut, also secret and no less revolutionary, but motivated by fierce hatred for the oppressive Ottoman rule rather than by the fear of Syria's occupation by a foreign power

The Secret Society of Beirut1 was established as a result of the preaching of Elias Habbalin,2 a Maronite who taught French in the Syrian Protestant College of Beirut from 1871 to 1874. Habbalin, who had been influenced by French revolutionary ideas, preached to his students at the College to revolt against the Turks and against the injustice and corruption of the government. In 1875 Habbalin left for Egypt, but the ideas he had planted in the minds of his students took root and it was these students who established the society in the same year.3