Huffpost Religion

Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah, Saudi Islamic Leader, Says Churches Should Be Destroyed

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A Saudi Islamic leader has drawn sharp condemnation from religious figures after he said that all churches in the Arabian Peninsula should be destroyed.

CBN News reports that Saudi Arabia's highest Islamic authority, Sheikh Abdul Aziz Bin Abdullah, made the inflammatory comments in response to a question from a Kuwaiti delegation which asked about a Kuwaiti parliamentarian's call to get rid of all churches there.

Abdullah said it is "necessary to destroy all the churches in the region. There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula."

Abdullah T. Antepli, a Muslim chaplain at Duke University, harshly criticized Abdullah's statements, in an email to The Huffington Post.

"Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah should be condemned and protested for his very unfortunate and un-Islamic statement about the Christian communities in Arabian Peninsula," Antepli said. "This is clearly violation of Islamic Law, Islamic morals and ethics."

Antepli said Christians in the region should take legal action against the Saudi religious leader.

"I highly encourage Christian communities in the area to press charges against him both in Sharia courts and regular courts on the basis of violating the rights of religious minorities," he said. "Saudi society deserves a better grand mufti. This is a clear example of how highest religious authorities have become puppets and clowns in the hands of ruling tyrants in the Muslim world."

Abdullah's words also drew a stinging reaction from European bishops.

"It would be a slap in the face to these people if the few churches available to them were to be taken away," Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, chairman of the German Bishops Conference told Reuters.

Hat tip: Cross Walk

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Filed by Simon McCormack