Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, who serves as the grand mufti of Sifaudi Arabia, is calling for Kuwait to follow the lead of Saudi Arabia and ban the construction of any Christian religious site. While Islamic leaders like the Grand Mufti are outraged with any slight or restriction of their religion, they deny the most fundamental rights of free exercise to other religions in the name of Islam. This is nothing new for the Saudi cleric and his colleagues. He previously called for all churches to be destroyed in 2012. It is not clear if this is a repeat of his announcement a few years ago or a recycling of the earlier story. However, it is a shocking position from one of the highest Islamic clerics in the world and adds an insight into the recent religious violence in places like Syria and Iraq.
According to new reports, the cleric is calling again for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula as legislation moves forward in Kuwait to bar the construction of non-Muslim religious sites.
Abdullah, who is considered to be the highest official of religious law in the Sunni Muslim kingdom, said that such intolerance is required by Islam. He serves as the head of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas. It is another example of how the underlying beliefs of ISIS are difficult to distinguish from some Islamic leaders, and allies of the United States. We discussed the disconnect earlier of Saudi Arabia beheading people accused of blasphemy or apostasy while denouncing ISIS for doing the same thing. Likewise, as ISIS destroys religious sites and artifacts, the Grand Mufti is calling for the same destruction.
Kuwait (which we invaded to liberate) would bar the construction of a church of those same soldiers to go to pray in their country. When we ask how such extremist groups get some of their intolerance and hatred, one can look at the Grand Mufti’s views and gain some insight. Until such Islamic clerics reverse long-standing anti-free speech and anti-free exercise views, the rise of these violent hate-filled movement will continue in my view.