In an interview published today in the English-language Saudi Gazette, Shaikh Saleh bin Luheidan, Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) and member of the senior council of ulema (religious scholars), has strongly criticized Osama bin Ladin and his followers for their call to jihad [holy war] and for linking the security of Palestine with the security of the American people. "In the way of God", he declared, "jihad refers to the struggle to hold high His Word; he who struggles in the way of God is the one who adheres to religious rites, avoids aggression and injustice, abides by Shari'ah [Islamic Law], and never becomes a cause for bloodshed and destruction to his people and country." True jihad, he reiterated, is when a person restrains himself from evil and turns in obedience to God.
Commenting on the refusal of the Taleban to hand over Osama bin Ladin, thereby exposing innocent Afghanis to the devastating air strikes that are going on, Shaikh Luheidan declared that this has nothing to do with protection of Islamic interests in Afghanistan, saying: "They could have avoided such errors by various means if they wanted to, and should have listened to the advice of their neighbors." He prayed that God "grant Afghanistan wise leadership that steers the country away from danger". True Muslims, he stated, "oppose any unjust person who is bent on bloodshed; they do not give shelter to any troublemaker."