RealNews

Saudi Cleric Urges Muslims to Shun Radicalism

Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority urged Muslims on Thursday to shun extremism and avoid waging unjustified jihad (holy struggle) as the kingdom cracks down on Islamist militants believed linked to al Qaeda. In a lengthy statement carried on the official Saudi Press Agency, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz al-Sheikh told Saudis to listen to their religious authorities and ignore fanatic interpretations of Islam or risk “banning God’s bounty.” “One of the fall-outs from extremism in understanding Islam is that some people call for jihad for the sake of God without justification,” Sheikh Abdul-Aziz said. Saudi Arabia’s powerful religious establishment has been accused in the West of breeding militancy and hatred toward Christians and Jews. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam and the teachings of its clerics are obeyed by many Muslims. The Saudi authorities, trying to quash fundamentalism at home and improve their image abroad, have recently dismissed 700 clerics and banned some 1,500 others from preaching in mosques for inciting dissent. Senior clerics have also taken to the media to preach moderation among Saudis. Full Story

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