Top Saudi cleric ‘blesses’ Trump-Muslim summit

Grand Mosque in the holy Saudi city of Makkah. (AFP)
Updated 21 May 2017
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Top Saudi cleric ‘blesses’ Trump-Muslim summit

MAKKAH: A top Saudi cleric on Friday described as “blessed” an Islamic summit in the capital Riyadh at the weekend to be attended by Muslim leaders and US President Donald Trump.
In his Friday sermon, the imam of the holy city of Makkah, Sheikh Saleh bin Hamid, praised the “blessed meeting that will bring together brothers and friends” on Sunday.
He urged participants “to show realism... and to stress the negative impact of interferences in regional affairs,” state news agency SPA reported him as saying.
He appeared to be referring to the mainly Sunni kingdom’s regional rival, Shiite-dominated Iran. The two countries have taken opposing sides in wars in Syria and Yemen.
The imam said interference in the Middle East has “exacerbated confessional, religious, nationalist and ethnic conflicts,” and called on summit participants to act to “stem armed chaos provoked by terrorists and their sponsors.”
Trump, who will make Saudi Arabia the first overseas stop of his presidency on Saturday, is expected to give a speech about Islam to 50 leaders of Muslim countries at the summit.
In his sermon, the imam urged those attending the summit to work toward “constructive dialogue, cooperation and tolerance.”
“The world must know the nation of Islam is proud of its religion, its identity, its values and its culture,” but also “believes in human and cultural diversity,” he said.
“Relations between states and nations must be based on equality and mutual respect.”
The ultra-conservative kingdom, the cradle of the austere Sunni doctrine of Wahhabism, last year launched an ambitious program of social and economic reforms dubbed Vision 2030.


Saudi Arabia’s air defense intercepts Houthi ballistic missile fired towards Jazan

Updated 20 April 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s air defense intercepts Houthi ballistic missile fired towards Jazan

  • Earlier this week, Saudi air defenses shot down a previous ballistic missile attack by the Houthis
  • The incident happened hours after the coalition warned of a “painful” response if the Houthis mounted new attacks on Saudi Arabia

Saudi air defense forces managed to intercept a ballistic missile fired by Houthi militias from Yemen headed in the direction of Saudi Arabia’s border province of Jazan on Friday.

Earlier this week, Saudi air defenses shot down a previous ballistic missile attack by the Houthis.

Colonel Turki Al-Maliki, the coalition's spokesman, said the missile was monitored by the Saudi Air Force to have been launched from Yemen's Amran province at 10:16 p.m. Monday toward populated areas in the southern Saudi province of Najran.

The missile was intercepted before it could hit its target, Al-Maliki said.

The incident happened hours after the coalition warned of a “painful” response if the Houthis mounted new attacks on Saudi Arabia using what it said were Iran-supplied drones.

So far, the Houthis have launched over 100 missiles at Saudi cities and installations.