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Saudi top cleric labels Qaeda, IS ‘ enemy No 1′ of Islam

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Saudi Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al- Sheikh
on Tuesday blasted Al – Qaeda and Islamic
State jihadists as “ enemy number one ” of
Islam , in a statement issued in Riyadh.

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“ The ideas of extremism, radicalism and
terrorism … have nothing to do with Islam and
(their proponents) are the enemy number one
of Islam , ” the kingdom’ s top cleric said .
He cited jihadists from the Islamic State,
which has declared a “ caliphate” straddling
large parts of Iraq and Syria , and the global
Al- Qaeda terror network .
“ Muslims are the main victims of this
extremism, as shown by crimes committed by
the so – called Islamic State , Al- Qaeda and
groups linked to them, ” the mufti said ,
quoting a verse in the Koran urging the
“ killing” of people who do deeds harmful to
Islam .
His stance reflects the Saudi clerical
community’ s hostility towards IS jihadists,
known for their brutality .
The largely Sunni kingdom of Saudi Arabia
favours an austere form of Islam . The two
holiest places of Islam , Mecca and Medina ,
are both in Saudi Arabia.
IS jihadists, already well established in Syria ,
launched an offensive in Iraq on June 9 and
rapidly seized control of vast swathes of
Sunni territory there.
“ In the circumstances the Islamic nation is
living through, several countries have been
destabilised ” by extremists , who “ divide
Muslims” in the name of religion, the mufti
said .
He warned : “ In Islam , after heresy , dividing
Muslims is the greatest crime .”
The mufti urged “ tolerance , which was at the
origin of Islam ’ s growth and longevity. ”
King Abdullah vowed on June 29: “ We will not
allow a handful of terrorists, using Islam for
personal aims, to terrify Muslims or
undermine our country and its inhabitants .”

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