2003 Press Release

Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority warns against the dangers of extremism

[Washington, DC]  – Shaikh Abdulaziz Al-Ashaikh , the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Council of Senior Ulema [religious scholars], issued a statement today warning Muslims that extremism and fanaticism lead only to violence and the death of innocent people. Shaikh Al-Ashaikh emphasized that “Muslims must understand that the path of reform never comes through violence. Islam is not a religion of violence. It is a religion of mercy for everyone."

Shaikh Al-Ashaikh stated: “One of the fall-outs from extremism in understanding Islam is that some people call for jihad for the sake of God without justification…These people, who call for jihad, want to raise the banner of jihad to draw the youth into their ranks, and not to fight for the Almighty God.”

Saudi Arabia’s religious leaders have repeatedly and unequivocally condemned terrorism in all its forms. Following the Riyadh bombings on May 12, Shaikh Al-Ashaikh stated: “Terrorism has nothing to do with Islam…Islam should not be blamed for the acts of other people. People should be held responsible individually for their own acts.”