A top Saudi cleric declares Shiites to be infidels, calls on Sunnis to 
drive them out

CAIRO, Egypt: A top Saudi Sunni cleric on Monday declared Shiites around 
the world to be heretics and urged Sunni Muslims around the world to 
expel Shiites from their land.

Abdullah bin Jabrain, a key members in Saudi Arabia's clerical 
establishment, joined a chorus of other senior figures from the 
kingdom's hard-line Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam who have deemed 
Shiites as infidels, the latest sign of increasing sectarianism in the 
Middle East.

"Some people say that the rejectionists (Shiites) are Muslims because 
they believe in God and his prophet (Muhammad), pray and fast. But I say 
they are heretics," said bin Jabrain in a statement posted on several 
Islamic Web sites.

"They are the most vicious enemy of Muslims, who should be wary oft 
their plots," wrote bin Jabrain. "They should be boycotted and expelled 
so that Muslims spared their evil," he wrote.

Bin Jabrain is a member of the Senior Clerics Association, a grouping of 
Saudi Arabia's top clerics that is closely linked to the government. The 
statement's authenticity could not be immediately confirmed. It appeared 
on a Web site where hard-line clerics often post statements.

Last month, Abdul Rahman al-Barak, another top Saudi cleric and 
considered close to the kingdom's royal family, urged Sunnis worldwide 
to oppose reconciliation with Shiites.

Al-Barak said Shiites should be considered worse than Jews or Christians.

"By and large, rejectionists (Shiites) are the most evil sect of the 
nation and they have all the ingredients of the infidels," al-Barak 
wrote in a fatwa, or religious edict, that was posted on his Web site.

Like most hardline Sunnis, al-Barak and bin Jabrain employed the word 
"rejectionists," used as a derogatory term to describe Shiites because 
they opted out of the Sunni school of Islamic theology.

Also last month, about 30 prominent Saudi Wahhabi clerics called on 
Sunni Muslims around the Middle East to support their brethren in Iraq 
against Shiites and praised the anti-American insurgency.

Thousands of Iraqis have been killed this year in sectarian bloodshed 
between the majority Shiites and the Sunni Arab minority, who lost their 
dominance after the fall of Saddam Hussein.

Saudi Arabia, like most Arab countries, is predominantly Sunni but has a 
significant Shiite minority.

Last month, Nawaf Obeid, a former adviser to the Saudi Embassy in 
Washington, spoke of the possibility of "massive Saudi intervention to 
stop Iranian-backed Shiite militias from butchering Iraqi Sunnis" if the 
United States withdraws from the country. Saudi citizens are also 
reportedly raising funds for Sunni insurgents in Iraq.


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