Saudi Arabia to vet use of Prophet’s sayings to counter extremism

Updated 19 October 2017
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Saudi Arabia to vet use of Prophet’s sayings to counter extremism

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, is to monitor interpretations of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) teachings to prevent them being used to justify violence or terrorism, the Culture and Information Ministry has said.
In a decree, King Salman ordered the establishment of an authority to scrutinize uses of the “hadith” — accounts of the sayings, actions or habits of the Prophet that are used by preachers and jurists to support teachings and edicts on all aspects of life.
The ministry said late on Tuesday that the body’s aim would be to “eliminate fake and extremist texts and any texts that contradict the teachings of Islam and justify the committing of crimes, murders and terrorist acts.”
The body will be based in Madinah and overseen by a Council of Senior Scholars from around the world, according to the decree. The ministry offered no specific details of how it would work in practice.
Militant groups such as Daesh and Al-Qaeda have used interpretations of hadiths — numbered in the thousands and pored over by scholars for centuries — to justify violence and to urge supporters to carry out attacks.
Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir said last month that thousands of extremist clerics had been dismissed, although he gave no timeframe.
The ministry said the body would serve Islam by creating “a solid scientific reference to vet and verify the authenticity of hadiths,” which are second in importance only to the Qur’an in Islam. It did not say what form the reference would take.
The decree issued by the king, whose official title is Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques — Islam’s most revered places in Makkah and Madinah — said the body would be chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Hassan Al-Sheikh, a member of the Council of Senior Scholars, which serves as Saudi Arabia’s highest religious body.


Saudi Arabia and Red Sea, Gulf of Aden states reach agreement to establish entity of cooperation

Updated 12 min 46 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia and Red Sea, Gulf of Aden states reach agreement to establish entity of cooperation

  • Representatives from Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Jordan gathered in Riyadh
  • Al-Jubeir said the meeting also discussed boosting trade and conserving the environment

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia on Wednesday sought to establish an entity of cooperation with six countries bordering the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, a strategic area vital to global shipping.

Representatives from Egypt, Djibouti, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Jordan gathered in Riyadh on Wednesday to discuss the initiative. 

A team of experts is expected to meet “soon” in Cairo for technical talks.

“This is part of the Kingdom's efforts to protect its interests and those of its neighbours and ... to stabilise the region that we live in and to try to create synergies between the various countries,” Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir told reporters after a day of meetings.

“The more cooperation and coordination that you have among the countries of this region, the less negative outside influence will be on this region," he added.

Eritrea and Ethiopia were not present at the meeting.

The Red Sea also includes the Bab Al-Mandeb strait, through which oil is shipped towards Europe, the US and Asia. In recent years the waterway has been targeted by Iranian-backed Houthi militants from Yemen.

Al-Jubeir said the meeting also discussed boosting trade and conserving the environment.

Saudi Arabia has announced several mega-projects along the Red Sea, including a $500 billion business zone shared with Egypt and Jordan as well as a luxury tourism destination.