Middle East
Saudis vow to tackle radicals
Interior minister blames extremist clerics for young men turning to violence.
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2007 18:13 GMT
Groups linked to al-Qaeda launched a campaign to topple the monarchy with attacks in 2003 [EPA]
Saudi Arabia's interior minister has pledged to tackle radical Muslim clerics, whom he blamed for encouraging young men to join violent Islamic groups.

"Those who consider themselves to be guides or muftis have to stop doing this and return to their senses," Prince Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz said in remarks published on Monday.
"The authorities in charge are on their back and will not leave them alone. We see in them a greater threat than that coming from those who perpetrate the acts."

Extremists linked to al-Qaeda began a campaign to topple the monarchy in 2003, attacking  foreigners and government buildings.
Tough security measures have helped curb the violence but analysts and diplomats say radical Islamic ideology and anger at Western policy remains strong in the kingdom.

Prince Nayef urged the official religious establishment to avoid the spread of extreme views.
"If there is no efficient and positive action from our scholars, clerics, mosque imams, thinkers, newspapers and television channels to develop and strengthen ideological security, we will have a deficiency," he said.

Last week, Prince Nayef said that the "virus" of extremism was still alive in Saudi Arabia despite its success in curbing attacks led by al-Qaeda sympathisers.

The interior minister's comments came after a man suspected of involvement in the killing of four Frenchmen was shot dead by security forces.

Waleed bin Mutlaq al-Radadi died in a gun battle north of Medinaon Friday, the kingdom's news agency said.
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