Saudis urge Al Qaida to come 'back to their senses'

Monday, June 7, 2004

ABU DHABI Saudi Arabia is pressing clerics to take the kingdom's side in a war of credibility against Al Qaida.

Saudi authorities have urged leading clerics to oppose Al Qaida attacks and discredit the religious rulings of Osama Bin Laden. The clerics were also ordered to condemn Al Qaida in Friday sermons in mosques, Middle East Newsline reported.

On June 4, Saudi mufti Sheik Abdul Aziz Al Sheik called Muslims to cooperate with authorities in the war against Al Qaida. The mufti issued a ruling that ordered Saudi citizens as well as residents to report to authorities anybody suspected of helping Al Qaida.

The ruling also called on the Al Qaida supporters to "fear God Almighty and come back to their senses."

"The mufti urges citizens and residents to inform on anyone planning or preparing to carry out an act of sabotage," the sheik said. "This was meant to protect the people and the country from the destructive effects of such actions and to shield the planners themselves from the consequences of their actions."

The official Saudi Press Agency said the ruling was issued amid Al Qaida strikes over the last few weeks.

Saudi officials have warned that anybody who fails to report Al Qaida activities will be prosecuted as terrorist accomplices. At the same time, authorities have offered major awards for information that would lead to the capture of Islamic insurgents.

Copyright 2004 East West Services, Inc.

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