Ramadan: Saudi king slams religious extremists

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia
  • . . . As JNI cautions scholars against hate preaching

From Muhammad Ibrahim, Kaduna with agency report

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia yesterday sharply criticised religious extremists, vowing not to let “a handful of terrorists… terrify Muslims”, in a speech marking the start of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

“Islam is a “religion of unity, fraternity and mutual support”, but some people “lured in by false calls… are confusing reform with terrorism”, the monarch said, in comments carried by state news agency.

“Their goal is to sow discord among Muslims,” he said, in an apparent reference to insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The powerful jihadist group has spearheaded an offensive by Sunni militants in Iraq since June 9, wresting control of northern cities and capturing vast swathes of territory.

ISIL operates in both Syria and Iraq and aims to establish an Islamic state straddling the border of those two countries, but their lightning advance in Iraq also poses a threat to Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

The ultra-conservative Sunni Gulf kingdom – home to Mecca and Medina, Islam’s holiest sites – shares an 814-kilometre (505-mile) border with Iraq.

“We will not allow a handful of terrorists, using Islam for personal aims, to terrify Muslims or undermine our country and its inhabitants,” Abdullah said.

“We are continuing, with God’s help, to face and tackle this scourge,” he said.

The Saudi monarch also wished Muslims “security, prosperity and stability” over Ramadan, which began in most countries on Sunday.

In a related development, the  Jama’atu Nasril Islam (JNI), under the leadership of Sultan of Sokoto and President-General, JNI, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar has called on Scholars to fear Allah and  shun bad preaching during all Tafseer sessions in the holy month of Ramadan.

This was contained in a statement, signed by the group’s Secretary General and made available to newsmen in Kaduna, yesterday.

The religious body, therefore, called on Nigerian Muslims to utilise properly the spirit of Ramadan, by being more God-conscious through often recitation of the Glorious Qur’an, being punctual in the observance of the five daily prayers and also the Taraweeh in congregation.

“Ramadan, being the month of Tafseer (Exegesis) of the Glorious Qur’an, respected Mufasseerun (Scholars engaged in Qur’an Exegesis) are once more reminded of the JNI Tafseer Guidelines, agreed upon at the last National Conference on ‘Practical Steps in Uniting Nigerian Muslim Ummah’, held in Kaduna.

The JNI also wished all Muslim faithful an accepted Ramadan fast.

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