Saudi Muslim Leader Condemns Killing of Christians and Jews

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, OCT. 26, 2001 ( Saudi Arabia´s top religious leader denounced the slayings of Jews and Christians living in Muslim nations, saying the killings are forbidden under Islam.

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«He who kills those who signed the accords and those who received our guarantees of safety will not smell the fragrance of paradise,´´ Sheik Abdulaziz al-Sheik said in an interview published Wednesday by the daily al-Riyadh newspaper and monitored by the Associated Press.
<br> The mufti was referring to peace agreements the Prophet Mohammed signed with Jews and Christians living in Muslim territories, in the early days of Islam.

Al-Sheik said such killings would have «grave consequences, including incitement, sedition and undermining security,» and that they are «forbidden» under Islam.

The mufti´s comments appear to be a response to those of a spokesman for Osama bin Laden´s al-Qaida network, who earlier in October threatened the lives of Americans and Britons living in the Persian Gulf.

Sulaiman Abu Ghaith said al-Qaida had ordered Americans and Britons to leave the Arabian Peninsula because the «land will burn with fire under their feet, God willing.»

Al-Sheik, who is appointed by the king, angered many Muslims by standing virtually alone, among prominent regional clerics, in issuing a religious order, or fatwa, in April — following several suicide bombings in Israel — which said that such attacks are contrary to Islamic teachings.

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