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Old 01-19-2005, 09:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Top Saudi Cleric Condemns Terrorism

Quote:
Hajj cleric warns Muslim youth
Pilgrimage reaches climax


MOUNT ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia (AP) -- Raising their hands to the sky, about 2 million Muslim pilgrims prayed for salvation Wednesday at Mount Arafat, where Saudi Arabia's top cleric said the greatest test for the nation of Islam comes from its sons who are "lured by the devil," a reference to violent Muslim militants.

Many pilgrims' eyes welled with tears as they prayed on the most critical day of the hajj, the annual pilgrimage the faithful believe will wipe away their sins.

While speaking at a mosque on the plain of Mount Arafat, Sheik Abdul-Aziz al-Sheik, the kingdom's grand mufti, referred to the violent campaign waged by Muslim militants affiliated with the al Qaeda terror network against targets in the kingdom, attacks Saudi authorities have been battling the past two years.

Al-Sheik said the greatest test for the Muslim nation is its own sons gone astray, and he warned them not to be used by enemies of the nation to weaken it.

"The greatest affliction to strike the nation of Islam came from some of its own sons, who were lured by the devil," he said. "They have called the nation infidel, they have shed protected blood and they have spread vice on earth, with explosions and destruction and killing of innocents."

He pointedly asked of Muslim youth: "How would you meet God? With innocent blood you shed or helped shed?"

Al-Sheik also said that campaigns were being waged against the people of Islam -- "military campaigns, thought campaigns, economic campaigns, and media campaigns.

"They are all against this religion. The nation was described as a terrorist nation, that we are terrorists and backward," he said. "Conferences have been held and conspiracies have been woven ... all unjustly and unfairly."

Al-Sheik urged worshippers to abide the words of God and his prophet and not be "fooled by a civilization known for its weak structure and bad foundation."

Pilgrims held hands out for each other to climb the gentle yet rugged hill, while many already atop pushed and shoved to hug a pillar, standing where Islam's 7th century prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon.

"Oh God, have mercy on us. Oh God, forgive our sins," Syrian pilgrim Abdul Razzah Hamadah said in prayer with tears in his eyes.

Muhammad delivered his last sermon at Mount Arafat, 12 miles southwest of Mecca, on March A.D. 632, three months before he died.

"God has brought us here and he will take care of our safety," said Hamadah, who accompanied his mother, when asked about security and safety concerns during the pilgrimage. In recent decades, the hajj has been marred by stampedes.

Helicopters hovered above the plain, dotted by pilgrims all the way to the peak of Mount Arafat. Men and women, otherwise not allowed to mix in the conservative kingdom, rubbed shoulders and stretched helping hands to each other as they climbed the uneven slope.

Some pilgrims paused on top of Mount Arafat to photograph the occasion.

There, men in seamless white robes and women, covered from head to foot except for their hands and faces, held prayer booklets and recited the Koran.

Pilgrims streamed into the area atop buses and cars crawling along bumper-to-bumper from the sprawling tent city of Mina.
To CNN article

This proclamation is a excellent beginning. While many Muslim clerics in the Western world have condemned terror, this proclamation coming from the birthplace of the religion may be what is needed. This unequivocal denunciation of murder will assuredly affect many muslims. I don't speak of the Osama bin Ladin's or Zawahiri's, but I mean those Muslims who have stood by and condoned without participating.

This isn't a magic bullet, this won't right the world overnight. Too many clerics are in the pay of corrupt governments that have no right to rule, and too many have yet to take the stand they should. But, I would hope that many on these boards will begin to see the distinction amongst muslims. The majority of Muslims are no more willing to kill, than a jew/christian/buddhist/hindu/athiest...etc. and that those who do kill have cast their religion entirely aside and are fighting for purely political causes.
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Old 01-19-2005, 09:31 PM   #2 (permalink)
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This is a great start, nice sermon. I just wonder if this cleric message will apply to his own clerics under him and if they'll change their tune and Wahabism at large.
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Old 01-19-2005, 09:43 PM   #3 (permalink)
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This is definately a good thing.
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Old 01-19-2005, 09:48 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Bravo to this man. May the peace of God be upon him.
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Old 01-19-2005, 09:56 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Not to ruin what seems to be a positive message, but I must put forth that actions speak louder then words. This man is in charge of what has consistently and historical been one of the most violent and intolerant sects of Islam. After 9-11 the Saud family had an overhaul of 2000+ clerics because their most common message is death, death to the infidels (which doesn't merely apply to people of other creeds, but people of other sects), death to the zionists, and most importantly death to America and death to the west.

I wonder what motivates this man to start changing the tone?
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Old 01-19-2005, 10:53 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Al-Sheik said the greatest test for the Muslim nation is its own sons gone astray, and he warned them not to be used by enemies of the nation to weaken it.

"The greatest affliction to strike the nation of Islam came from some of its own sons, who were lured by the devil," he said. "They have called the nation infidel, they have shed protected blood and they have spread vice on earth, with explosions and destruction and killing of innocents."

He pointedly asked of Muslim youth: "How would you meet God? With innocent blood you shed or helped shed?"

Al-Sheik also said that campaigns were being waged against the people of Islam -- "military campaigns, thought campaigns, economic campaigns, and media campaigns.

"They are all against this religion. The nation was described as a terrorist nation, that we are terrorists and backward," he said. "Conferences have been held and conspiracies have been woven ... all unjustly and unfairly."

Al-Sheik urged worshippers to abide the words of God and his prophet and not be "fooled by a civilization known for its weak structure and bad foundation."
That still sounds like someone throwing a few references to terrorism into a speech about the dangers of the enemies of Islam. I'll give him teh benefit of the doubt and assume that the author know more than I do about the speech, but I'm not too convinced.
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Old 01-19-2005, 11:04 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah upon re-reading this, I don't think he is condemning terrorism at all. Seems like the same ole' hardline garb from Saudi Arabia... This has tones identical to what started in Egypt back in the 70's and brought people like Osama into the game.
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Old 01-20-2005, 06:58 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
He pointedly asked of Muslim youth: "How would you meet God? With innocent blood you shed or helped shed?"
This sounds like he's condemming terrorism to me...

of course the problem is we're reading a partial transcription of unknown quality....
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:21 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
This is a great start, nice sermon. I just wonder if this cleric message will apply to his own clerics under him and if they'll change their tune and Wahabism at large.
I agree with you Mojo, but I wonder about the Wahabists. From what I've read (admittedly only two histories of Islam and one biography of Muhammad), they are nutcases.

Of course, those three books put me ahead of 99% of people who like to make judgements on Islam willy-nilly.

I still think they're nutters though...


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Old 01-20-2005, 07:23 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
Yeah upon re-reading this, I don't think he is condemning terrorism at all.
Oh dear. Maybe I don't agree with you at all.

Do you expect him to fall prostrate on the floor and wail about "past sins"? Of course not. But his (undoubted) condemnation of terrrorism has to be couched in ways that are acceptable to his audience.

And to be perfectly honest, Islam is under attack. Whether justified or not is a subject for another thread.


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Old 01-20-2005, 07:39 AM   #11 (permalink)
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That had to take some balls to say that...I give him 2 weeks.
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Al-Sheik said the greatest test for the Muslim nation is its own sons gone astray, and he warned them not to be used by enemies of the nation to weaken it.

"The greatest affliction to strike the nation of Islam came from some of its own sons, who were lured by the devil," he said. "They have called the nation infidel, they have shed protected blood and they have spread vice on earth, with explosions and destruction and killing of innocents."

He pointedly asked of Muslim youth: "How would you meet God? With innocent blood you shed or helped shed?"

Al-Sheik also said that campaigns were being waged against the people of Islam -- "military campaigns, thought campaigns, economic campaigns, and media campaigns.

"They are all against this religion. The nation was described as a terrorist nation, that we are terrorists and backward," he said. "Conferences have been held and conspiracies have been woven ... all unjustly and unfairly."

Al-Sheik urged worshippers to abide the words of God and his prophet and not be "fooled by a civilization known for its weak structure and bad foundation."
it sounds to me that he is condemning terrorism within the kingdoms boarders where 'innocents' live. It still sounds as if he is reinforcing the idea that the non-muslim people of the world are against them and there is still a jihad to fight.

But it all depends on who he speaks of when he says "innocent blood"
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:45 AM   #13 (permalink)
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This could be the start of something or just a blip... a path that might have been taken.

Time will tell.
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Old 01-20-2005, 08:59 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inkriminator
This proclamation is a excellent beginning.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mojo_PeiPei
This is a great start
Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlatan
This could be the start of something
Denunciations of terrorism have been issued for quite a long time from clerics and many others in the Mid East. This is certainly not the start of it. Though it is beneficial to claim there have never been people in positions of power in the Mid East who have come out against terrorism when trying to wage a war against an ethereal concept which defaults to an entire region/group of people.
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Old 01-20-2005, 09:02 AM   #15 (permalink)
 
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why is this statement surprising to anyone? that an established cleric--in sauid arabia--during the hajj--would denounce "fundamentalism" seems obvious, completely obvious: the established clergy is the primary target of these movements. if these groups in any number engage in actions oriented otherwise, they do so as an element of a strategy aimed at the existing social order that is knit around/through the established religious hierarchies. nothing about this statement represents a modulation of the general state of things: it simply comese from a side of the conflict that the american press tends to ignore: if you are going to inspire a fundamentally racist support for the policies of the bush administration, nuance does not help. so there isnt any. whence the ridiculous readings above of the statement (o i do not think it counters "terrorism"....)

that the statement would unfold as it does is also completely logical: what conservative christian cleric do you know who does not freight his or her statements with parallel digs at "secularism" or whatever the canard of the moment might be?
the statement is directed at a particular audience, for gods sake. it is not something generated with american telvision viewers in mind. sorry to have to point out that american tv viewers are not always primary in everyone's mind at all times. such is the way of things, however.
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Old 01-20-2005, 09:15 AM   #16 (permalink)
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We shall see.

Certainly he has a stake in how radicals affect the Kingdom but as they say, actions speak louder than words.
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Old 01-20-2005, 09:53 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebell
We shall see.

Certainly he has a stake in how radicals affect the Kingdom but as they say, actions speak louder than words.
Exactly.
Actions, not words.
Although it is a positive first step. It's something.

"The first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem."
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Old 01-20-2005, 10:19 AM   #18 (permalink)
 
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i dont get it. why is this being taken as a "step" toward anything? why is it not simply a reflections of conflicts within islam that have been there from the first "fundamentalilst" movements constituted themselves?

why would you imagine that this statement was directed at a non-muslim audience?
its the hajj for crying out loud. think for a minute about where the statement was read. geez.
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Old 01-20-2005, 10:28 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
"The greatest affliction to strike the nation of Islam came from some of its own sons, who were lured by the devil," he said. "They have called the nation infidel, they have shed protected blood and they have spread vice on earth, with explosions and destruction and killing of innocents."
I don't think it is directed at a non-muslim audience, which is why I see it in a positive light.

This speech reinforces to me the notion that Islam in itself is not the problem, but rather, the religious extremists who are painting the religion, in his words, as "terrorists and backward".
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Old 01-20-2005, 10:45 AM   #20 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
This speech reinforces to me the notion that Islam in itself is not the problem, but rather, the religious extremists who are painting the religion, in his words, as "terrorists and backward".
but this has been the case all along: why wait until now to decide that there is a problem with how the present administration and its media apparatus portray islam?

the quote you refer to in the last bit in your post refers not to "extremists" but precisely to the basically racist selling of war by parties like the bush people:

Quote:
Al-Sheik also said that campaigns were being waged against the people of Islam -- "military campaigns, thought campaigns, economic campaigns, and media campaigns.

"They are all against this religion. The nation was described as a terrorist nation, that we are terrorists and backward," he said. "Conferences have been held and conspiracies have been woven ... all unjustly and unfairly."
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Old 01-20-2005, 10:58 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
but this has been the case all along: why wait until now to decide that there is a problem with how the present administration and its media apparatus portray islam?
Are you saying that this speech by the Saudi grand mufti is simply Bush and the CIA feeding him speech lines? Is he, too, an American puppet, and being told what to say to his people? Or did he say it because he himself is acknowledging a problem?
Quote:
Al-Sheik said the greatest test for the Muslim nation is its own sons gone astray, and he warned them not to be used by enemies of the nation to weaken it.
The good sheik is apparently a clever speaker. On one hand, he seems to be admitting some of his flock have 'gone astray', yet he also seems to be critical of outside criticism. Politics, Saudi-Style, eh?
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Old 01-20-2005, 11:54 AM   #22 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Are you saying that this speech by the Saudi grand mufti is simply Bush and the CIA feeding him speech lines? Is he, too, an American puppet, and being told what to say to his people? Or did he say it because he himself is acknowledging a problem?
unclear on what you are talking about here. of the two, the second option would appear to be the preferable, simply because it makes sense to me.
at bottom, i wasnt disagreeing with your local interpretation of the text: rather, i was trying to argue that the idea you would see this as some kind of Signal from Them seems a bit naieve.
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Old 01-20-2005, 12:32 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roachboy
why is this statement surprising to anyone? that an established cleric--in sauid arabia--during the hajj--would denounce "fundamentalism" seems obvious, completely obvious: the established clergy is the primary target of these movements.
It's, if not suprising, encouraging, because the target of these extremists aren't the clerics, but rather the governments.
from Osama's mouth
Quote:
As for it's results, they have been, by the grace of Allah, positive and enormous, and have, by all standards, exceeded all expectations. This is due to many factors, chief among them, that we have found it difficult to deal with the Bush administration in light of the resemblance it bears to the regimes in our countries, half of which are ruled by the military and the other half which are ruled by the sons of kings and presidents.

Our experience with them is lengthy, and both types are replete with those who are characterised by pride, arrogance, greed and misappropriation of wealth. This resemblance began after the visits of Bush Sr to the region.
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exer...C36E87F61F.htm

Seeing that the governments are the targets of Osama, the clerics have a choice of whom to defend. THey are choosing between the lesser of two evils, but when Osama is involved i'm always rooting for the other guy, and, I'm glad that this cleric has chosen wisely.
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Old 01-20-2005, 12:45 PM   #24 (permalink)
 
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it is simply a restatement of positions occupied from the outset.
the problem is not shifting positions in the outside world: it is the structure of blindness on the part of the american tv viewing audience, those folk who get their information about islam from cnn or, worse (always worse) fox.
seriously--look into the matter of "fundamentalism" or "extremism" form the 1970s onward in anything liek sociological or historical terms (which do not sit well wtih commerical interests and the new that functions as entertainment between commercials) and you will see for yourself.
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Old 01-20-2005, 02:57 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by roachboy
the problem is not shifting positions in the outside world: it is the structure of blindness on the part of the american tv viewing audience, those folk who get their information about islam from cnn or, worse (always worse) fox.
I can categorically prove you wrong here.

I read about it in the newspaper.
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:53 PM   #26 (permalink)
 
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wasnt referring to you, sir, but i am pleased that you read the papers nonetheless.
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Old 01-20-2005, 09:08 PM   #27 (permalink)
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Stop calling me sir dammit...

If you gotta call me something, how about........"Your Honor".
Or, if that doesn't float your boat, how about "powerclown", or "douchebag", or even "dumbass". Anything but sir.

Trust me, I'm no 'sir'.
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Old 01-20-2005, 09:32 PM   #28 (permalink)
 
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i use it among my friends--we all call each other sir.
none of us are either.
maybe that's why we think it funny.
besides, sir is short. other options are longer--more possibility of typos that i probably wont see so probably wont fix.
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Old 01-20-2005, 10:17 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Old 01-21-2005, 07:38 PM   #30 (permalink)
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if it's said in good faith...and i hope it is...then it's a good step. i worry that such words won't reach people who have been soaked in extremist whabbist rhetoric for all their lives.
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