Friday, April 02, 2010

Saudi ulema moot urges 'extremists' to repent

* 500 participants at four-day Islamic conference condemn 'all acts of 
terrorism wherever they take place and whoever is behind them' 
* Scholars criticise 'harm inflicted on unarmed civilians and civilian 
facilities under pretext of combating terror'

RIYADH: Muslim scholars from around the world who met this week in Madina have 
denounced "terrorism" and appealed to terrorists to repent, a statement said on 

The four-day Islamic conference, sponsored by Saudi Interior Minister Prince 
Nayef bin Abdul-Aziz and organised by the Islamic University of Madina, drew 
some 500 participants, according to press reports.

The scholars condemned "all acts of terrorism wherever they take place and 
whoever is behind them," said the concluding statement from the conference, 
which wrapped up on Wednesday.

The scholars also criticised "the harm inflicted on unarmed civilians and 
civilian facilities under the pretext of combating international terrorism."

The statement published on the organisers' website called on terrorists to 
"return to their senses and follow the path of groups that have announced 
repentance and rejected acts of terrorism."

"Hold on to moderate Islam and tolerance towards others," and "reject false 
interpretations of ... jihad (holy war)," it said, addressing Muslim youths.

The conference urged Muslim communities in non-Muslim countries to encourage 
their children "to adopt a moderate understanding of Islam, respect for others 
and compliance with (local) laws."

It also urged the governments of those countries to respect the rights of 
Muslims and "treat them equally with other members of the community."

Saudi Arabia, which practises an ultra-conservative version of Islam, has in 
recent years cracked down on what it regards as terrorist groups.

Al Qaeda, which has been blamed for killing between 150 and 200 people in the 
kingdom between 2003 and 2006, has in particular been in the firing line.

Saudi King Abdullah said last month that the kingdom is determined to halt 
terrorism and a campaign was under way to try dissuading youths from joining al 
Qaeda. afp

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