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    » 11/29/2010, 00.00

    SAUDI ARABIA

    Grand Mufti condemns extremism and violence in sermon, experts discuss it



    For experts, the Hajj sermon by Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh is of great significance. In it, the grand mufti urges Muslims to fight extremism and dangerous ideologies. Hundreds of media outlets around the Muslim world pick up his remarks.

    Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Hajj sermon delivered by the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, at the Nmira Mosque in Makkah has raised interest levels among specialists because of its harsh condemnation of terrorism. Excerpts from the sermon, which condemns terrorism and urges moderation, were reprinted in hundreds of newspapers in the Arab and Islamic worlds. Some clips with English subtitles have appeared on the internet, posted on YouTube.

    In his sermon, Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz urges Muslims to be united and faithful. He calls for the protection of the environment and stresses the need for security. He noted that when security is missing, women and children suffer, disorder follows and peace and prosperity vanish.

    Speaking about Islam, he said that it is a religious of forgiveness and moderation. Violence is against Islamic ethics. The ultimate purpose of Islam is to spread peace and security. However, many observers focused on one interesting  part, namely intellectual security.

    As he described what he meant by intellectual security, the mufti called on Muslim communities to guard against deviancy, especially extremism and fanaticism. He warned that recent advancements in media and technology have led to the spread of dangerous ideologies and cyber terrorism. He called on Muslim teachers, imams, scholars, think tanks and professors to spread the true message of Islam and fight the spread of extremism.

    Experts note that the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has never been regarded as a progressive thinker. Last year for example, he insisted that ten-year-old girls were ready for marriage. However, because he is rooted in Wahhabism, Islam’s most rigid and inflexible tradition, which is not very open to progress and change, his call for moderation and condemnation of extremism is of particular significance. As such, it has the potential of reaching the more radical intransigent elements in Muslim societies.

    At the same time, experts believe that his sermon likely reflects a tendency towards moderation inspired by the Saudi ruling family, which is increasingly concerned about extremism and terrorist violence.

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    See also

    26/03/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
    Cinema and theatre contrary to Islam, says Saudi grand mufti
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    08/10/2007 SAUDI ARABIA
    How should a good Muslim behave? Go online to find out
    An official website will provide ‘official’ fatwās on various topics under the supervision of Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Ulema. Readers can ask their own questions.

    02/10/2007 SAUDI ARABIA
    Saudi grand mufti warns young people against going abroad for jihad
    In a speech reported by Saudi Arabia’s official news agency, Sheikh Abdulaziz tells young people to be weary of being used by “outside forces.” It is against Islamic law to take part in a holy war without the blessing of religious authorities.

    26/10/2010 SAUDI ARABIA
    Saudi beggars rush to Makkah for Hajj
    The great annual pilgrimage to Islam’s holiest places is set to take place in mid-November, but gangs of professional beggars are already taking over the best locations near the city’s Grand Mosque. The authorities are embarrassed and the Grand Mufti has spoken out against the practice.

    19/07/2005 SYRIA
    Commitment to the Qu'ran without fundamentalism, says grand mufti
    In an interview with AsiaNews, Ahmed el-Hassoun stresses the importance of inter-religious dialogue "which can spread justice, a value upheld by all religions".



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