RIYADH, 9 November 2004 — The Saudi Embassy in Washington has released an official statement on the status of an open letter which was signed by 26 religious scholars in the Kingdom calling on Iraqis to fight Americans and considering it jihad.
In the statement, Prince Bandar ibn Sultan, the Kingdom’s ambassador to the US, made it clear that the religious scholars who signed the open letter to the Iraqi people did not represent the government of Saudi Arabia nor the senior religious scholars of the country.
The statement, released yesterday by the Saudi Embassy in Washington, said: “In regard to the open letter to the Iraqi people by a number of individuals calling for support of armed resistance in Iraq, I would like to state that these individuals do not represent the Saudi government nor the Council of Senior Ulema (religious scholars), both of whom have repeatedly condemned terrorism in Iraq and throughout the world. The Saudi people pray for the end to bloodshed in Iraq, and the restoration of peace, security and stability in Iraq for the benefit of the Iraqi people and the region.”
Twenty-six Saudi religious scholars signed an open statement to the Iraqi people on Saturday legitimizing the resistance and forbidding any cooperation or dealing with the American forces.
The religious scholars who signed the petition were: Sheikh Ahmed Al-Khudairi — professor of Fiqh in Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University, Riyadh; Sheikh Ahmed Al-Abdulateef — Islamic ideology professor, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah; Sheikh Hamed Al-Fureih — professor of Qur’an commentary, Teachers College, Dammam; Sheikh Alshareef Al-Fa’ar — professor of origin of Fiqh, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah; Sheikh Alshareef Al-Auni — professor of Hadith, Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah; Sheikh Khaled Al-Qasim — professor of Islamic Studies, King Saud University, Riyadh; Sheikh Saud Al-Fineisan — professor of Qur’anic commentary and Qur’anic studies, Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University, Riyadh; Sheikh Saeed Al-Ghamdi — professor of Islamic Ideology, Shariah College, Abha; Sheikh Safar Al-Hawali — former professor of Islamic Ideology in Umm Al-Qura University, Makkah; Sheikh Salman Al-Ouda — supervisor of the islamtoday website; Sheikh Suleiman Al-Rashoodi — religious legal consultant; Sheikh Saleh Al-Sultan — professor of Fiqh, Qasim University, Qasim; Sheikh Saleh Al-Darweesh — judge in Public Court of Qateef, Eastern Province; Sheikh Abdul Rahman Madkhali — professor of Hadith, Teachers College; Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Ghamdi – professor of Fiqh, King Saud University, Abha; Sheikh Abdullah Al-Turaiqi — professor of Islamic Culture, Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University, Riyadh; Sheikh Abdullah Al-Zayidi —? professor of Islamic Culture, Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University, Riyadh; Sheikh Abdullah Al-Zayid — former head of the Islamic University in Madinah; Sheikh Abdullah Al-Sheikh — professor of Hadith, Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University, Riyadh; Sheikh Abdul Wahab Al-Tureiri — deputy supervisor of islamtoday website; Sheikh Ali Asiri — professor of Islamic Ideology, Shariah College, Abha; Sheikh Ali Badahdah — professor of Hadith and Qur’anic studies, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah; Sheikh Awad Al-Qarni — former professor of origins of Fiqh, Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud University, Riyadh; Sheikh Qasim Al-Qathradi — professor of Qur’anic commentary, Shariah College, Abha; Muhammad Al-Shareef, Professor of Qur’an and its sciences, King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah; Sheikh Misfir Al-Qahtani — professor of Fiqh, King Fahd University for Petroleum and Minerals, Dhahran.
In their statement, the Saudi scholars also called for not targeting nationals of other countries whose governments did not take part in the war.
The scholars also said that resistance was a legitimate cause and that it is not allowed for any Muslim to harm a resisting person or to tell the enemy of their locations, but on the contrary, stand beside them and protect them.
They also issued a fatwa — a religious edict — saying it was sinful in Islam to assist or support any military operations by the occupying forces and that anyone who does so would be “cooperating in evil and enmity”
They called, at the same time, for easing everyday conditions of ordinary Iraqis by providing their day-to-day needs of medical, educational, and living conditions, stressing the importance of saving Muslim blood and honor in Iraq and considering that “ a basic principle of the religion.”
They also said that the unification of Iraq is a vital issue and that conflict would do much damage, as “it would be giving a free service to the Jews that smuggle into Iraq, and to the occupying forces that nurture conflicts to cement their own agendas and inflict their rule on every party.”
The statement added that there were “hidden hands” that try to “ignite turmoil and rip Iraqis into sects, fuming domestic battles between the Shiites and the Sunnis and between the Kurds and the Arabs”.
The statement added that it is “the right of Iraqis to live in peace and tranquility next to one another” saying that this stage requires elaboration of national unity and national interests and keeping away from measures that lead to disunity and conflict.
The statement called on Muslims everywhere who consider themselves “followers of Dawah (propagation)” to turn to Iraq to help take part in its reconstruction and contribute to its educational and philanthropic services in the country, saying that such things would have a big impact on Iraqis.