Public urged to inform on terrorists – Grand Mufti

Saudi Arabia’s highest religious authority yesterday issued a fatwa, or religious edict, calling on citizens and expatriates to inform on suspected extremists engaged in terrorist activities.

The committee that issues religious rulings, headed by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, “urges citizens and (foreign) residents to inform on anyone planning or preparing to carry out an act of sabotage,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The aim is to “protect the people and the country from the destructive effects of such actions and to shield the planners themselves from the consequences of their actions,” the fatwa said.

The committee condemned the recent attacks in the Kingdom and urged extremists to “fear God Almighty and come to their senses.”

It said it issued the edict in response to inquiries about “the appalling events of the past few weeks,” which have seen an escalation in the terror campaign blamed on Al-Qaeda sympathizers.

Some 85 people have been killed and hundreds injured in a wave of violence which began in May 2003.

In one of the bloodiest episodes, 22 people were killed when gunmen went on a shooting rampage and seized hostages in Alkhobar last weekend.

Yesterday’s edict reinforces repeated calls by Saudi officials on the population to inform on terror suspects, coupled with warnings that those who turn a blind eye to terrorist activities will be seen as accomplices of the extremists.

Authorities have promised large financial rewards for those who help catch most-wanted militants or thwart attacks.