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Saudi court jails preacher for 'glorifying' takfirist organizations

The imam was found guilty of inciting against the state through “glorifying” takfiri organizations and leaders of al-Qaeda

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A Saudi court in Riyadh sentenced a preacher to five years in prison after he was convicted of glorifying takfirist (accusing others of apostasy) organizations in a sermon he delivered in 2013, Asharq al-Awsat newspaper reported.

The imam, whose name was not disclosed, was found guilty of inciting against the state through “glorifying” takfiri organizations and leaders of al-Qaeda in the sermon.

He was also convicted on the grounds of exploiting Friday prayers to spread extremist ideas.

According to the Arabic daily, the ministry of Islamic affairs and guidance had barred the preacher from delivering sermons before security forces detained him following a seditious sermon he delivered at the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Abdelwahab Mosque in Riyadh.

In addition to calling upon Muslim scholars and women to urge youths to take arms and mobilize in countries suffering of unrest, he prayed that the “al-Qaeda lady,” a Saudi woman serving a 15-year prison term in the U.S. for planning and aiding terrorist activities, to be released.

Although half the term was suspended, the accused was barred from delivering sermons at mosques and public gatherings and will be placed under a five-year travel-ban upon his release.

Both the defense and prosecution have expressed refusal to accept the verdict and plan to appeal the ruling.

The judge alerted the parties that they must submit an appeal no later than 30 days of the issuance of the verdict.