Saudi Clerics Denounce War in Sermons

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  • Date: Sun, 30 Mar 2003 09:54:35 +0100

Saudi preachers lashed out against the United States and its war on Iraq in
Friday sermons, praying for Allah to inflict his wrath on America and help
Muslims raise the banner of jihad. 

The unusually harsh language in the weekly sermons indicated the government
— which generally discourages clerics from using language that could be
considered inflammatory — sees a need for an outlet for anti-war sentiment
in a country where protests are banned. 
Saudis, like most Arabs, are seething with rage against the war in Iraq. The
government is having a hard time balancing its desire to keep the street
calm while at the same time quietly helping the Americans in the war.
Thousands of Americans have been deployed near the border with Iraq to help
rescue downed troops or planes. 

In Medina, Islam's second holiest city, Sheik Salah al-Budeir ended his
fiery sermon with several invocations to God: "Protect the weakness of our
Muslim brothers in Iraq." "Destroy their enemies, kill them (enemies) with
their weapons, burn them with their fires. 
"Allah, raise the banner of jihad." 

Al-Budeir, without naming the Americans, said "they" started the war,
"opening its fire" without thinking of its consequences, adding that they
will fall into the "pit they have dug." 

He said Muslims are being subjected to "the bloodiest massacres ... the most
ferocious crimes." 

"They (Americans) feel no mercy for the weakness of old men, the illness of
the sick ... or women grieving for the greatness of the tragedy," al-Budeir

He said the policies carried out are "unjust, irrational barbarism." 

In Mecca, Sheik Saleh bin Humayid, head of the appointed Consultative
Council and a cleric of Mecca's Grand Mosque, said the war in Iraq should
stop immediately. 

"It's a losing war that will have no winner," he said. 

"We should stand by the Muslim Iraqi people in its tragedy and alleviate
their suffering," he added. 

Bin Humayid also urged worshippers not to listen to "rumors" circulating on
the Internet and not to trust what they read or hear on satellite television
unless they see proof that what is published or said is true. 

He did not spell out the rumors, but the Web has carried reports of U.S.
troops in the kingdom. 
Since shortly after the war began, several mosques have been making special
invocations after regular prayers, calling for the defeat of the Americans
in their war on Iraq. 

Other Saudi clerics in Riyadh on Friday asserted that resisting "the
invaders" is holy and prayed for God to inflict his wrath on America and its

One in Riyadh said, "Allah, take revenge from America ... make the people of
Iraq victorious over the enemies of Arabs and Muslims." 
On Wednesday, the government's Senior Scholars Commission, comprised of an
influential group of clerics, called on Saudis to remain united behind their
government and support their stand in the war, according to the official
Saudi Press Agency. 

The statement reminded Saudis "that they are requested by Allah ... to
remain united behind the ruler and obedient at normal times and obliged to
support him at times of strife and crises," said SPA. 

The statement also called on Saudis to avoid rumors that target their
religion and the stability and security of the country, according to SPA. 

Source:  Associated Press

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