Counter-Terrorism: Saudi Clergy Turn On Al Qaeda

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December 20, 2007:  Three years ago, Saudi cleric Salman al Awdah, and 25 like-minded preachers, issued a religious ruling, that it was justifiable for Iraqis to fight American "invaders." Al Awdah had also been a supporter of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. But now al Awdah has changed his tune, as have many of his supporters, and he has come out against Islamic terrorism. This has ignited a controversy on pro-Islamic terror web sites, because al Awdah has long been seen as a major supporter of bin Laden among the senior Saudi clergy. While the Saudi government has been pressuring senior clerics to at least stop encouraging Saudis to support al Qaeda, the switch to being anti-al Qaeda appears to be a recognition that most Moslems have come to view the slaughter of so many Iraqis by terrorists as beyond the pale. In that respect, al Awdah is simply reflecting what most Moslems believe, and what he can no longer defend.

 

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