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Lebanese School Rips Pages From Textbook Critical of Hezbollah

A leading school in Lebanon was forced to remove pages from a history book said to describe Hezbollah as a terrorist organization after a Cabinet minister from the militant group complained, a state news agency reported Tuesday.

Hezbollah, which has fought Israel for more than two decades, is considered a resistance movement in Lebanon and rejects being labeled a terrorist group. It is active in the country's politics and holds one seat in the Cabinet and 11 in the 128-member parliament. Hezbollah also provides social services and runs schools and clinics.

The textbook has been used for seven years by Beirut's International College, a secondary school, said its president, John Johnson, according to the state-run National News Agency.

The book, "Modern World History," is printed in the United States, the daily As-Safir reported. The U.S. has branded Hezbollah a terrorist group. The newspaper said the book is taught to 8th grade students.

On Sunday, Labor Minister Mohammed Fneish, a Hezbollah member, complained about the book and called on the Education Ministry to take action against schools teaching it and remove it from the approved curriculum.

The education minister met with the school's president Tuesday to discuss the book, the state news agency reported. It quoted Johnson as saying the pages concerned were removed from the book.

Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV said the book described Hezbollah and the Palestinian militant groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad as terrorist organizations.

The National News Agency quoted Johnson as saying during Tuesday's meeting that the school does not have a particular political position and does not teach the Arab-Israeli conflict.

The International College was founded in 1891 in Smyrna, Turkey, and moved to Beirut in 1936. It shares its main campus with the American University of Beirut. It has 4,200 foreign and Lebanese students, including 800 at a second campus north of the capital.

Officials from the school could not be reached for comment.