A nationwide anti-terror campaign was launched on Saturday as officials, intellectuals, students and the general public vowed to stand by the government in its efforts to stamp out terrorism. The campaign, coinciding with the Counterterrorism International Conference in Riyadh, aims at increasing public awareness of terrorism and deviancy.
All governorates, ministries and government departments are taking part in the campaign, which aims to isolate the remaining elements who support the terror network.
Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, the Kingdom’s grand mufti, said Islam, which calls for the protection of a man’s life, family, wealth, honor and intellect, totally rejects terrorism. “If a person kills a believer, his punishment is hell,” the mufti said, quoting a Qur’anic verse. He also pointed out that the protection of non-Muslims living in a Muslim country was the responsibility of the country’s government.
Al-Asheikh said terrorists who cause corruption on Earth by carrying out killings and destruction deserve tough punishment as the Holy Qur’an directs.
In a similar statement, Saleh Al-Asheikh, minister of Islamic affairs and endowments, called upon religious scholars, intellectuals, academics and writers to stand with the government in its fight against terrorism and extremism.
The Islamic Ministry has planned a variety of programs in support of the anti-terror campaign. “We have set up a team to carry out a number of programs, including lectures and seminars, to educate the public on the danger posed by deviant groups,” the minister said.
Friday sermons delivered by prayer leaders (imaams) in many of the Kingdom’s mosques focused on the need to confront terrorism.
“Fighting terrorism is a joint responsibility,” Dr. Saleh Bin-Humaid, one of the imams of the Grand Mosque, said in his sermon. Bin-Humaid, who is also chairman of the Shoura Council, said terrorist actions committed by Al-Qaeda cells in the Kingdom benefited only the enemies of Islam. He reminded scholars, teachers, writers and imams of their responsibility to guide youth and protect them from deviant thought.
Sheikh Abdul Bari Al-Thubaity, the imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madeenah, said Islam had nothing to do with terrorism and condemned those who fish in troubled waters and work to tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims.
“Islam is a religion of mercy and benevolence. It is a religion of construction, not destruction,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted him as saying.