Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- A high-level Saudi official in the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, objected to those who believe that the Kingdom is working to “politicize” mosque pulpits, in order to support one party at the expense of another.
Dr. Tawfiq al-Sudairi, Undersecretary for the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Dawa and Guidance, confirmed that the kingdom does not seek to transform mosque pulpits or politicize them, especially in light of recent events witnessed by a number of Arab countries, referring to the internal political tremors the region is currently witnessing.
The Undersecretary for the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs emphasized there were no directions given one way or another, governing the expression of viewpoints relating the recent disorders. He said “there are no directions to the mosque imams and preachers, and there are no orders or prohibitions with regards to talking about events taking place in a number of Arab countries”.
Al-Sudairi, in statements made to Asharq al-Awsat on the sidelines of a seminar held by the Ministry for Islamic Affairs, at Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque in the heart of the Saudi capital, Riyadh, said that this stems from the confidence the Ministry has in its imams and preachers. He added “we are confident and we believe that mosque imams are aware of the needs of their mosque community, and orientate their discourse around them”.
In his statement, al-Sudairi stressed there was no guidance or advice given to mosque imams, whilst in the same context he confirmed the necessity to take into account the needs of the people, and not to be swept away behind the wishes of individuals. This is the basic principle applied by public preachers across the country.
The Undersecretary of the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs was speaking at a seminar, within the program of weekly seminars being held at Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque, throughout the year.
Al-Sudairi discussed compassion in Islamic law, arguing that every issue addressed in the Koran was approached with compassion in mind. This was its intention, cause and purpose. He said “If it was possible to substitute the name of the Islamic religion for other words, compassion would be the title most commonly used, for the foundation of the religion is compassion”.