Twitter reacts to video of Saudi minister comforting Christchurch victim’s wife

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On Monday, a video circulated on social media of the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Sheikh Abdullatif Al al-Sheikh, comforting a female Hajj pilgrim whose husband died in the Christchurch mosque attack earlier this year.

In the video, Sheikh Abdullatif is seen talking to reporters before kissing the woman’s forehead and comforting her while she is crying.

Twitter user Fadila Al Jaffal posted the video to mixed reactions, with some calling out the minister for what they claimed was inappropriate behavior under Islam and others praising him for his humanity and compassion.


“Maybe many see it [as] a human touch but it also symbolizes a new era back to Islamic moderation in Saudi Arabia,” Al Jaffal remarked in her tweet.

“This minister is loyal to his religion and homeland,” wrote Twitter user Abital Alayah in the comments section of Al Jaffal’s post. “His critics are the enemies of the success of the reforms.”

“Islam prohibits any physical contact with women unless wife, sis,” a user countered. “What he did is wrong.”

Another user took a neutral stance. “The minister’s act is wrong, but we do not know what is in their hearts and we have to improve our intentions,” he wrote.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz had ordered the hosting of 200 people from the families of the Christchurch shooting’s victims to perform Hajj in the Kingdom, according to SPA. The pilgrims arrived in Mecca on Sunday.

Announcing the decision, Sheikh Abdullatif said it was part of the Kingdom’s efforts to counter terrorism and support the families of those who were affected by the “abominable act that is contrary to all divine teachings and human values and principles.”

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