Al-Asheikh: The Term ‘Wahhabism’ was Created to Tarnish ‘Moderation’

Al-Asheikh: The Term ‘Wahhabism’ was Created to Tarnish ‘Moderation’

Saturday, 18 August, 2018 - 07:00
Saudi Minister of Islamic Affairs. Asharq Al-Awsat
Makkah - Mohammed Al-Ayed
Minister of Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance Dr. Abdullatif Al-Asheikh has said that “moderate” Islam has been prevailing in Saudi Arabia since its establishment, blaming the enemies of moderation to the spread of the term “Wahhabism.”

In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, the minister said: “Since Saudi Arabia’s establishment, one of the state’s principles is moderation.”

“But some teachers from Arab countries, having extremist thoughts, used religion for political interests,” he said.

Asked if moderate religion in Saudi Arabia had been taken hostage, the minister said: “Saudis and those living on Saudi land are moderate in nature because of the moderation adopted by the Kingdom since its inception.”

He accused the representatives of the Muslim Brotherhood of spreading terrorism and racism.

“They spread takfiri thoughts” and formed terrorist groups, he said, adding that observers know very well that the Muslim Brotherhood tarnished the image of Islam and used it for political purposes.

Asked if these thoughts have penetrated Saudi society, Asheikh told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Saudis, as well as residents, have been “immune” and “only a few” have been influenced by such ideology.

The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman have exerted strong efforts to fight such rigid doctrines, he said.

Asked what measures his ministry is taking in that regard, Asheikh said: “We are implementing the directives of the country’s leadership on the spread of moderate ideology and the rejection of extremism through mosques, seminars and conferences, in addition to Friday sermons.”

He also slammed “the enemies of the religion” for using the term “Wahhabi” to give wrong interpretations of Islam.

On the annual Hajj pilgrimage, Asheikh hailed King Salman on his role in facilitating the practice of one of the five pillars of Islam.

He said the King “cares about the Muslim nation. So he seeks through all means to plant the seed of happiness in Muslims.”

On a remark he has made that security during Hajj is the responsibility of all Muslims, he said: “Any action that would harm the holy sites … would not just target Saudi Arabia, but Muslims around the world whether they have made the pilgrimage or not.”

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