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Saudi religious police chief says extremists present among ranks

The chief said calls for waging jihad in neighboring countries are void

Published: Updated:

Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh, President of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (Haia), admitted the presence of extremists in its ranks.

He labelled them as “advocates of sedition” and vowed to eliminate them. “There are advocates of sedition within the Haia, and we will deal with them in accordance with the law and regulations. We will eliminate whoever urges sedition in this country,” he warned.

Replying to a question from Okaz/Saudi Gazette whether he was satisfied with the functioning of the Haia, Asheikh said that it is not up to his satisfaction.

“Reaching the summit as well as maintaining the stay on the summit are both difficult. However, we are moving forward in line with the aspirations of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.”

Referring to the calls for waging jihad in neighboring countries, the Haia chief said that such calls for jihad are void.

“Such calls instigate and advocate sedition. It is forbidden to disobey the ruler. There is no martyrdom but only ruin for our youths in the sedition taking place in neighboring countries,” he said.

Asheikh’s comments came a day after King Abdullah decreed jail terms of up to 20 years for citizens who travel to fight abroad.

The decree stipulates jail terms for those belonging to extremist religious and ideological groups, or those classified as terrorist organizations.

Supporting such groups, adopting their ideology or promoting them through speech or writing would also incur prison sentences, the decree added.

Meanwhile, the General Secretariat of the Board of Senior Scholars hailed the royal decree issued by King Abdullah, saying that this would help further bolster the Kingdom’s security and stability as well as the unity of the people of the country, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Sheikh Fahd Al-Majed, Secretary General of the Board, said that the decree shows the King’s utmost keenness in protecting the interests of his country and people, and staying away from everything that undermines the unity and security of the country.

“The General Secretariat appreciates the royal decree as it comes in the context of the Kingdom’s legitimate policy based on the fundamentals of Shariah and that is entrusted on the country’s leadership, which takes decisions after taking into account the country’s broader interests, such as the decisions pertaining to war and peace.

The scholars are unanimous in their decision that the issue of jihad has been entrusted to the country’s leader and the citizens are bound to obey him in this regard,” he said.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.