2004 Press Release

Saudi religious body issues Fatwa against terrorism and urging public to report suspects

[Washington, DC] --  Saudi Arabia's senior religious scholars have issued a fatwa condemning acts of terrorism and calling upon citizens and residents to provide authorities with any information they may have regarding those who plan or prepare to carry out terrorist acts.

The Permanent Committee of Religious Research and Ifta (religious edict), under the chairmanship of Saudi Arabia's leading religious authority, the Grand Mufti Shaikh Abdulaziz Al-Ashaikh, issued the fatwa which ruled that such acts are religiously forbidden and considered to be severe forms of injustice.  The fatwa stated that these acts disrupt the security of the country, shed innocent blood, terrorize peaceful people and destroy property. The fatwa concluded that it is the duty of everyone to report to the authorities if they have information about the individuals who plan or prepare to carry out terrorist acts.

Saudi Arabia's leaders have explained that the religious establishment in Saudi Arabia is a critical asset in the nation's war against Al-Qaeda. According to Ambassador to the United States Prince Bandar bin Sultan: "It is our own religious establishment that is the authority most qualified to debunk and disprove Al-Qaeda's false claims."

On April 22, the day after a bombing in Riyadh, Shaikh Abdulaziz Al- Ashaikh, who is also Chairman of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, issued a statement calling the incident a "forbidden and sinful act."  The statement continued: "It is also forbidden to justify the acts of these criminals."  Shaikh Abdulaziz Al-Ashaikh also stated: "You have to be vigilant and have strong will in defending the religion and the Muslim country against these people."