Crown Prince Abdullah at the international conference on Islam and terrorism in Riyadh on Tuesday. (SPA)
LGF has an intriguing juxtaposition of news items: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Abdullah has declared Islam a religion of peace. However, some recent sermons suggest that not everyone has gotten the idea. First, Abdullah, from Arab News:
RIYADH, 21 April 2004 “” Crown Prince Abdullah, deputy premier and commander of the National Guard, yesterday reaffirmed that Islam is a religion of peace and moderation.
The crown prince was delivering the inaugural address at an international conference on Islam and terrorism, organized by Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University.
“Islam condemns all forms of terrorism and we must strive to correct wrong perceptions about our religion,” he said. “This is my vision.”
More than 200 experts on terrorism and academics from European, American and Asian universities and think-tanks attended the event, titled “The Stand of Islam on Terrorism, Violence and Extremism.”
Higher Education Minister Dr. Khaled Al-Angary, in a keynote address for the conference, reiterated Saudi Arabia’s resolve to combat terror.
Constant clashes between the West and the Islamic world were a bad omen for the future of the world, the education minister said, adding that the three-day conference was intended to clarify these misconceptions.
Dr. Al-Angary also underlined the importance of unearthing the roots of terrorism and extremism.
He said Islamic teachings called for dialogue, and asked the faithful to expose lies and accusations about the religion.
Later, the crown prince laid the foundation stone of Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University”s SR350-million women’s campus and of an SR100 million project for a college of languages, translation and computing.
The university has been trying to shed its extremist image after it emerged that a number of terror suspects on the government’s most-wanted list were IMSIU graduates.
On the sidelines of the conference, it screened a documentary highlighting the growth of the university and its contribution to curbing extremism and violence.
Gee, that’s swell. Yet meanwhile, on Saudi TV, Shaykh Salih Bin-Abdallah Bin-Humayd denounces extremism in language obviously meant to refer to Al-Qaeda, but his overall message is not quite peaceful. From IMRA:
Riyadh Kingdom of Saudi Arabia TV1 in Arabic, official television
station of the Saudi Government, at 0929 GMT on 16 April 2004 carries a
25-minute live sermon from the holy mosque in Mecca.
Shaykh Salih Bin-Abdallah Bin-Humayd delivers the sermon. … The imam then recalls how the Al-Khawarij [dissident group in early Islam, which rebelled against caliphs whom it regarded as corrupt] killed two caliphs, fought the messengers’ companions, and alleged that theirs was the only right path. The imam also warns Muslims against “religious extremism,” which he describes as “the reason behind destruction.” The imam says that “acts of violence, such as bombings, destruction, and bloodshed cannot defeat great values, destroy great achievements, liberate a nation, or impose a religious school,” stressing that “extremism, violence, and terrorism result only in destruction.” …
In the second sermon, the imam says “the recent sinful aggressions, reckless actions, and criminal behavior will not discourage our brothers, the security men, from carrying out their duties,” urging everybody to be alert to “what is being concocted against this nation, its religion, its people, its security, and its leaders.”
In conclusion, the imam asks God to strengthen Islam, protect our homeland and our leaders, support the “mujahidin” in Palestine and elsewhere, “destroy the Zionist Jews,” and lift the suffering of the Iraqi people.
Meanwhile, in Gaza, the same message:
Gaza Palestine Satellite Channel Television in Arabic, official television station of the Palestinian Authority, and Gaza Voice of Palestine in
Arabic — Second Program — official radio station of the Palestinian Authority broadcasting from Gaza — at 0950 GMT on 16 April 2004 carry a 25-minute live sermon from Shaykh Zayid Mosque in Gaza.
Shaykh Ibrahim al-Mudayris delivers the sermon. After praising God and His messenger, he says suffering leads to victory, citing relevant Koranic verses. … He says: “Our battle with our enemy is bigger than some politicians and media men think. Our battle is not with a Zionist prime minister, a government, or a jailer. The battle is between Islam and unbelief in this land. It is a battle in which crusaders and World Zionism have united. Zionism and crusaders are two sides of one coin. We are waging a big battle against Zionism, which rules the world and influences international decisions and economies. This alleged state will soon vanish, God willing. We are waging a big battle with crusaders and World Zionism, which dominates US decision-making.”
The imam then denounces the US President for urging Palestinians to relinquish their repatriation right in order to “please his Zionist masters and to keep his post.” Addressing President Bush, the imam says: “You are mistaken, Bush. Your decisions and statements will dump you into the dustbin of history. We stand firm on this land, and we defy all these decisions and statements though our belief in our rights.”
In conclusion, the imam asks God to support Palestinian prisoners, destroy Jews, “take revenge against the United States and Israel,” and help our kinfolk in Iraq and Palestine.
As well as in Syria:
Damascus Syrian Arab Republic Radio in Arabic, official station of the Syrian Government, at 0954 GMT on 16 April 2004 carries a 29-minute live
sermon from Al-Rawdah Mosque in Damascus.
Shaykh Muhammad Abd-al-Rahman Barakat delivers the sermon. … The imam urges the Arab nation to close ranks in the face of “the arrogant Zionist enemy,” to put minor differences aside, “to deter the Zionist enemy,” and to help the fraternal Iraqi people “restore their security, stability, and prosperity.” He says President Bashar al-Asad’s tour of a number of Arab countries “has cleared the Arab atmosphere and reactivated Arab and Islamic solidarity in order to regain the land and rights from the Zionist enemy and to achieve a just and comprehensive peace based on the resolutions of international legitimacy.”
In conclusion, the imam asks God to unite Arabs and Muslims, to help them defeat their enemy, “to destroy the Zionist Jews and their supporters,” and to give success to the Syrian president.
Destroy the Zionist Jews. Revenge upon the U.S. Remember, these are not political rallies, but sermons inside mosques (in each case carried on government television). What about the peaceful picture Abdullah painted? Is there room in it for this kind of sermon? Imagine the uproar if a Christian preacher prayed that God destroy — any group. If Abdullah’s bland assertion that Islam condemns terrorism doesn’t encompass sermons like these, it’s meaningless.