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Saudi Arabia: Official Stresses Importance of Keeping Mosques Hate-Free | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Median, Asharq Al-Awsat- In a speech that was delivered during a meeting attended by religious figures and the Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, the governor of Medina, Prince Abdul Majid Bin Abdulaziz stated that mosques have never been used as places to incite hatred amongst people. He stated the mosque is a place for reform, truth, preaching, solidarity and connection.

Prince Abdul Majid discussed national security and stressed that it is a national goal with political, cultural and nationalist dimensions based on the idea that security frees society from external influences.

The governor of Medina stated that it was unacceptable to intervene in the affairs of others at the expense of domestic issues. He said that mosques and pulpits are sometimes exploited to promote destruction or to incite conflict.

On his part, the Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdulaziz, stated that the fervour of some sermons and classes is the reason that many young people adopt a deviated way of thinking. He called for responsibility towards security to be shouldered by families, imams and the community: “The imam of the mosque should not let the youth or worshippers fall prey to the deception of the tafkir ideology.” He stated that imams should be aware of their responsibility to push the youth towards righteousness and to make the youth aware of others who have strayed. Moreover, Imams should direct them onto the correct path and strengthen the idea of consensus inside and outside of the mosque.

Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance drew attention to the importance of this issue and said that preachers need to find a way to reconcile between Shariaa and rationality, and the need to pay attention to those who call for reform only half-heartedly via sermons since reform must take place under the umbrella of Shariaa and Islamic consensus.

The Minister continued to warn against promoting extremism through sermons and stated that society can be cured of ills by encouraging righteousness and keeping away from immorality.

Sheikh Saleh Bin Abdulaziz stated that some preachers deal with political issues by regurgitating news and reports that have been broadcast by the media despite their orientation and intentions and that these preachers delve into a subject that confuses even political experts. He stated that preachers should not discuss matters in which they do not specialise. “We want people to think before they speak,” he added.