The tiny country of Lebanon is juggling 2 time zones at once thanks to a religious dispute, leaving its citizens utterly confused
A religious dispute means that Lebanon is now operating under two different time zones.
Lebanon's Muslim prime minister decided to delay Daylight Saving Time's implementation until the end of Ramadan.
But the Maronite Church rejected the move, leaving many juggling schedules in two different times.
Lebanon is just twice the size of Delaware, but thanks to a religious dispute residents of the tiny Middle Eastern country are being forced to manage two time zones at once.
This has led to significant confusion; different search engines now offer conflicting results when asked about the current time in Lebanon, with some cellphone networks asking users to turn off their phone's automatic update functions.
Kim Ghattas, a writer for The Atlantic who is based in Beirut, said on Twitter that the time zone dispute "throws travel plans, zoom calls, and automatic phone times updates into utter disarray."
In the past, Lebanon set forward its clocks by an hour on the last Sunday in March. But this year, a last-minute decision by the caretaker prime minister, Najib Mikati, pushed the implementation of Daylight Saving Time back to April 21.
The Associated Press reported that no official reason was given for the government's decision, but a leaked video indicated that Mikati, a Sunni Muslim, agreed to a request by Lebanon's Shia Muslim parliamentary speaker to postpone the implementation of Daylight Saving Time, to allow Muslims fasting for Ramadan to break their fast an hour earlier.
The Muslim holy month ends on April 21. With the Daylight Saving Time delay, Muslims are able to break their fast at around 6 p.m. instead of 7 p.m.
But sectors of Lebanon's sizeable Christian minority rejected the move, with the powerful Maronite Church saying it would disregard the "surprising" decision, per BBC News.
—Dan Azzi (@dan_azzi) March 26, 2023
Henry Khoury, a Christian politician who is serving as the caretaker justice minister, went one step further, calling for a reversal of the decision, citing the religious divides it is causing in Lebanon, according to The Times of London.
Jokes about "Muslim time" and "Christian time" are increasingly common in Lebanon, which has grappled with sectarian conflict since a 1958 civil war between Maronite Christians and Muslims, per The AP.
Over the weekend several private institutions decided to ignore the delay to daylight savings, including two media outlets — LBCI and MTV — which moved their clocks forward on Sunday, per the BBC.
And even one government body shunned its own policy, with the education ministry saying it adopted Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, per The National.
Haruka Naito, an NGO worker living in Beirut, said she was now forced to deal with an unexpected schedule clash. "I had an 8 a.m. appointment and a 9 a.m. class, which will now happen at the same time," she told the AP.
The 8 a.m. appointment was with a government agency, which was expected to comply with Mikati's decision, whereas her 9 a.m. Arabic class was with a private institution, which are not bound by the government's policy.
Meanwhile, Middle East Airlines, Lebanon's national carrier, has settled on a confusing compromise. According to the BBC, the airline has said its clocks and other devices will stay in winter time, but its schedules will be adjusted.
Dan Azzi, a Lebanese economist, summed up the situation in a pithy message on Twitter: "My view is that this whole thing is a Dumb and Dumber movie."
Read the original article on Insider