[QODLink]
Middle East

Islamic State is our top enemy: Saudi mufti

Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority calls group labels group apostates and says terrorism has no place in Islam.

Last updated: 19 Aug 2014 18:57
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Recent reports put the number of Islamic State fighters at about 50,000 in Syria alone [Reuters]

Saudi Arabia's highest religious authority has condemned the armed groups Islamic State and al-Qaeda as apostates and labelled them the "number one enemy of Islam".

The country's grand mufti, Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, said on Tuesday that terrorism, which he accuses the groups of committing on a systematic scale, had no place in Islam's ideology.

"Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilisation, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and Muslims are their first victims," he said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.

The Saudi government has been a main supporter of rebels battling Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, but has funnelled arms and money away from Islamic State and al-Qaeda, and towards other opposition groups in the country.

The Islamic State, which according to recent reports has tens of thousands of fighters, has seized control over large parts of Syria and Iraq, where they have been accused of committing mass atrocities against civilians.

Al-Sheikh's statements came a almost a year after he urged Saudi citizens to not travel to Syria to take part in the more than three-year-long conflict.

The grand mufti, appointed by the Saudi king, also warned preachers against encouraging young men to fight in Syria during their sermons, after delivering what the paper said was a lecture on "deviation among the youth" at a mosque.

247

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeeraís new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.
Taipei has sided with Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters as relations with Beijing continue downward spiral.
Some say they've 'lost everything' after a toxic spill in August, which was followed by leaks caused by heavy rain.
Many orphanages ignore government orders or operate under the radar, and there are only four inspectors nationwide.
Palestinian citizens of Israel are blocked from living in Jewish communities for lacking 'Zionist vision'.