“Any act of violence or terrorism that tries to hide behind religion is unacceptable,” a senior Saudi cleric ruled. 

A former Saudi minister and prominent Muslim cleric has stated that there can be no justification for any religious-motivated violence, even against Israel.

Dr. Muhammad bin abdel-Kareem Al-Issa, the former Saudi justice minister and senior adviser to the Saudi king, stated that “any act of violence or terrorism that tries to hide behind religion has no justification whatsoever, not even in Israel,” Israel’s Maariv newspaper reported Tuesday.

Al-Issa currently serves as the secretary-general of the Mecca-based Muslim World League, and is reportedly close to the Saudi Crown Prince, Muhammad bin Salman.

Al-Issa has been vocally supportive of the reforms pushed by Bin Salman in his move to “fight extremist Islam.” In a talk given before the Diplomatic Academy, he reiterated his country’s commitment to fighting terrorism and those that use religion to serve their own agenda, the Alaraby reported Wednesday.

Speaking in October at the at a major investment conference in Saudi Arabia, Bin Salman stated that “we want to go back to what we were: moderate Islam.”

The heir to the throne stated the kingdom will work to defeat extremist ideas and ensure that young Saudis live in harmony with the rest of the world.

“We will eradicate the remnants of extremism very soon… We represent the moderate teachings and principles of Islam,” he stated.

When asked by Maariv about acts of violence in Israel or against Jewish communities around the world that are framed as part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Al-Issa replied, “any act of violence or terrorism that tries to hide behind religion is unacceptable. Islam cannot be tied to politics, it is a religion of love, tolerance and respecting the other”.

Al-Issa added that conferences are being organized in the United States with various Jewish communities, and Saudi Arabia is keen on establishing friendly relationships.

His comments come just days after Saudi Arabia’s top cleric ruled that violence against Jews is forbidden by Islam.

The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, issued a surprising religious ruling, saying that fighting against Israel was inappropriate and that Hamas is a “terror organization.”

By: United with Israel Staff