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Thu 15 Mar 2012 10:20 AM

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Destroy all churches in Gulf, says Saudi Grand Mufti

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah makes comments on trip to Kuwait

Destroy all churches in Gulf, says Saudi Grand Mufti
Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah made the comment in view of an age-old rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region. (AFP/Getty Images)

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has said it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,” following Kuwait’s moves to ban their construction.

Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, stressed that since the tiny Gulf state was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, it was necessary to destroy all of the churches in the country, Arabic media have reported.

Saudi Arabia’s top cleric made the comment in view of an age-old rule that only Islam can be practiced in the region.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia is the highest official of religious law in the Sunni Muslim kingdom. He is also the head of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas.

A Kuwaiti parliamentarian said last month he wanted to ban the construction of churches and non-Islamic places of worship in the Gulf state.

MP Osama Al-Munawer announced on Twitter he planned to submit a draft law calling for the removal of all churches in the country. He later clarified that existing churches should remain but the construction of new non-Islamic places of worship should be banned.

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2fillsworth 8 years ago

wow, what a great way of reducing the divide between muslims and non muslims.

It looks like things are moving backwards if these measures are given any serious consideration. Although 'a minor few' in the 'west' might have some misinformed ideas of islam, most countries still allow for the construction of mosques and any other reglious center as it is the right of people to practice the reglion of their choice.

I honestly think this wont go ahead as common sense will prevail

Jake 8 years ago

One would think that a man in his position would be more thoughtful and diplomatic. Do we really need this sort of rhetoric in our day and age?
Just to take the wind out of the sails of those who are supporting his views. No Europe did not ban the construction of mosques nor did it ban the veil. You are perfectly fine and safe to practice your religion on our turf.

Calvin Pinto 8 years ago

Such statements don't deserve any attention or acknowledgment from anyone, public or otherwise

MikeDeLonghi 8 years ago

Just wonder what the reaction would be if the Pope declared that Christians would now have have the divine right to bulldoze all mosques in Europe....

acer 8 years ago

How could this person say such a comment about our brothers Christians worship house? We all pray to the same god and we don’t need such people planting the seeds of hatred in our world. Sorry our brothers Christians.

Mick 8 years ago

Mufti, that would be a conflict that you wouldnt want any part of. Trust me....
It's a good thing that noone will take this seriously.

oh and 2fillsworth....things are moving backwards at an alarming pace.

Religious conflict is at an all time high. With technology sending thoughts and ideas out in the blink of an eye, the need to control ideologies and restrain opinions, especially in such a turbulent time, is a powder keg waiting to blow.
Burning holy books, destroying churches....none of this will be swept under the rug. Hopefully, we can evolve faster than we are, in our thinking. Respect and education is needed and ignorance needs to be obliterated.

Peter GREEN 8 years ago

The Western idea of pluralism developed in Christianity (think "render to Caesar" and Augustine's City of God idea), then struggled for nearly 1000 years post Constantine before re-emerging at the Reformation. It has never been part of Islam.

Islam allows for some religions toleration, but not with equal status (dhimmitude.) However the difference between, say, Egypt where Christians have some degree of freedom and Saudi Arabia where non islamic religions are banned is the level of control of the populace by Islam.

But even in Egypt under Mubarak, where Christians had some level of protection, there has been little right for Christians to build new churches or even to repair old ones, and unrepaired old churches could lose Government protection.

Rashid 8 years ago

Sorry Grand Mufti, but Islam does not preach that.

The father of the UAE, Shk Zayed, has taught us acceptance and tolerance.

Ahmad 8 years ago

Not a surprise!

Concerned 8 years ago

....this calls for top Saudi Govt. officials to step in and clarify.