GRAND MUFTI DECLARATION AND REACTION
SUMMARY: On March 12, 2012, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the Arabian [Peninsula] region.” This shocked many Christians and angered others, but was not widely reported in the Western press. The Grand Mufti based his decree on Muhammad’s deathbed statement: “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula.”
The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia (Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh) recently called for the destruction of all churches on the Arabian Peninsula. In his address to a Kuwaiti delegation, the Grand Mufti stated that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian [Peninsula] region.”
The Grand Mufti is the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia; however, he does wield influence throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Muftis are Islamic leaders who issue fatwas (rulings on Shari’a law).
The Washington Times pointed out that this “is not a small-time radical imam trying to stir up his followers with fiery hate speech. This was a considered, deliberate, and specific ruling from one of the most important leaders in the Muslim world.”
Sheikh Abdul, reportedly based this pronouncement on what tradition says Muhammad stated on his deathbed: “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula.”
Christians in the Arabian Peninsula were shocked and many in other parts of the world were angered. Some feared this could incite Muslims beyond the Arabian Peninsula to violence against Christians.
“Since Christianity is already forbidden in Saudi Arabia and no churches exist there,” writes journalist Dave Bohon, “the implications of the cleric’s words were that the church ban should extend to other countries in the region, including Yemen, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.”
Most nations on the Arabian Peninsula allow expatriates to worship in compounds. The Grand Mufti’s statement calls for these nations to follow Saudi Arabia’s example and outlaw Christianity.
Now is the time to rise up and pray for protection for our Brothers and Sisters living in Islamic nations.Saudi Arabia is number 3 on the Open Doors World Watch List 2012 of the world’s worst persecutors of Christians. WIN partners pray for Saudi Arabia on Day 5 of the Window International Network Praying Through the Window 9: Global Terrorism and World Religions prayer calendar.
SOURCES: Reuters, The Washington Times
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