Saudi Arabia’s top cleric says terrorism has no place in Islam

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2014, 10:07pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 20 August, 2014, 10:07pm

Saudi Arabia's top cleric said that extremism and the ideologies of groups like Islamic State and al-Qaeda were Islam's No1 enemy and that Muslims had been their first victims.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh also said in his public statement on Tuesday that terrorism had no place in Islam, and that the danger of extremists lay in their use of Islamic slogans to justify their actions that divided people. "These foreign groups do not belong to Islam and Muslims adhering to it," he said.

King Abdullah has been pressing clerics to publicly condemn Islamic extremist groups since the government made it illegal for citizens to fight in conflicts abroad. Clerics who do not condemn terrorism in traditional Friday sermons could face penalties, such as having their licences to preach revoked.

Local media has reported that the Saudi Interior Ministry may require clerics to pass a security screening before they can preach, and that about 3,500 clerics in Saudi Arabia had been dismissed since 2003 for their sermons.

Associated Press