Grand Mufti Calls for ‘Destruction of All Churches in Region’

EDITORIAL – According to several Arabic news sources, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.”

The Grand Mufti made his assertion in response to a question posed by a delegation from Kuwait: a Kuwaiti parliament member recently called for the “removal” of churches (he later “clarified” by saying he merely meant that no churches should be built in Kuwait), and the delegation wanted to confirm Sharia’s position on churches.

Accordingly, the Grand Mufti “stressed that Kuwait was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, and therefore it is necessary to destroy all churches in it.”

As with many grand muftis before him, the Sheikh based his proclamation on the famous tradition, or hadith, wherein the prophet of Islam declared on his deathbed that “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula,” which has always been interpreted to mean that only Islam can be practiced in the region.

While the facts of this account speak for themselves, consider further:

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah is not just some random Muslim hating on churches. He is the Grand Mufti of the nation that brought Islam to the world. Moreover, he is the President of the Supreme Council of Ulema [Islamic scholars] and Chairman of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas. Accordingly, when it comes to what Islam teaches, his words are immensely authoritative.

Considering the hysteria that besets the West whenever non-authoritative individuals offend Islam— for instance, a fringe, unknown pastor [Terry Jones] — imagine what would happen if a Christian counterpart to the Grand Mufti, say the Pope, were to declare that all mosques in Italy must be destroyed; imagine the nonstop Western media frenzy that would erupt, all the shrill screams of “intolerance” and “bigot,” demands for apologies if not resignation, nonstop handwringing by sensitive politicians, and worse.

Yet the Grand Mufti — the highest Islamic law authority of our “friend-and-ally” Saudi Arabia — gets a free pass when he incites Muslims to destroy churches, not that any extra incitement is needed (nary a month goes by without several churches being bombed and destroyed throughout the Islamic world). In fact, at the time of this writing, I have not seen this story, already some three days old [on 14-Mar-2012], translated on any English news source, though “newsworthy” stories are often translated in mere hours.

Likewise, consider the significance of the Grand Mufti’s rationale for destroying churches: it is simply based on a hadith. But when non-Muslims evoke hadiths — this one or the countless others that incite violence and intolerance against the “infidel” — they are accused of being “Islamophobes,” of intentionally slandering and misrepresenting Islam, of being obstacles on the road to “dialogue,” and so forth.

Which leads to perhaps the most important point: Islam’s teachings are so easily ascertained; there is no mystery in determining what is “right” and “wrong” in Islam. The Grand Mufti based his fatwa on a canonical hadith, which Muslims and (informed) non-Muslims know is part of Islam’s sources of jurisprudence (or usul al-fiqh). And yet the West— with all its institutions of higher learning, including governmental agencies dealing with cultural and religious questions — is still thoroughly “confused” as to what Islam teaches.

All of this is nothing short of a scandal — a reminder of just how deep the mainstream media, academia, and most politicians have their collective heads thrust in the sand.

Meanwhile, here is the latest piece of evidence of just how bad churches have it in the Muslim world, for those who care to know.

Raymond Ibrahim

Raymond Ibrahim

Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum. This editorial is reprinted with permission from the Middle East Forum.  

A widely published author, best known for The Al Qaeda Reader (Doubleday, 2007), he guest lectures at universities, including the National Defense Intelligence College, briefs governmental agencies, such as U.S. Strategic Command and the Defense Intelligence Agency, provides expert testimony for Islam-related lawsuits, and has testified before Congress regarding the conceptual failures that dominate American discourse concerning Islam and the worsening plight of Egypt’s Christian Copts.  Among other media, he has appeared on MSNBC, Fox News, C-SPAN, PBS, Reuters, Al-Jazeera, CBN, and NPR.



  1. Avid Reader says

    While this editorial is from a right-wing fascist organization it is important to note a few points.

    1. No where it is mentioned that Saudi Arabia follows the teachings of Wahabism [also Salafism, Takfirism]. This school of thought is a fascist ideology that the vast majority of Muslims will agree is based on political thought and little to do with actually religion.

    2. Wahabism and its patrons, the Saudi ruling family, are supported by the West. The question we must ask ourselves is why does the US, UK and other countries with a colonial history support such an ideology? Could it be as it serves its interests in following a ‘divide and conquer’ policy?

    3. Wahabism targets all those who hold different beliefs to be ideological outside the fold of Islam. Even other Muslims especially Shia. One has to look at the killings in Pakistan.

    4. This statement was condemned and rejected by both the Grand Mufti of Turkey and the AhlulBayt World Assembly in Iran. I will quote both of them here.

    “We believe that the mentioned opinion is evidently against the aims of Islam, especially in a region that witnessed the descent of the Holy Quran and the first application of the Sunnah of the Prophet. It is against the Muslim tradition’s established practice of respecting non-Muslims’ rights as well,” he noted.

    “First of all, Wahhabi muftis are not representing Islam. The world should know that the religion which is now being publicized in Saudi Arabia is not true Islam,” Ahl al-Bait World Assembly said in a statement published by Ahl al-Bait News Agency (ABNA) on Tuesday.