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Turkey’s Top Muslim Cleric Slams Saudi Mufti Over His Call to Destroy Churches

9 April 2012 28 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

Turkey’s Top Muslim Cleric Slams Saudi Mufti Over His Call to Destroy Churches

The Saudi “Grand Mufti,” Shaikh Abdul Aziz Aal-Al-Shaykh caused outrage a few weeks ago when he said all churches in Kuwait should be “destroyed.” It must be pointed out that the Grand Mufti is not popularly elected by a consultative body, nor did he gain the position through any merit, such as being the highest learned Islamic scholar in Saudi Arabia.

The position of Saudi Grand Mufti is actually a political one, harking back to the alliance between the House of Saud and the House of Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab in the 18th century.

The Saudi Grand Mufti received his position through inheritance, the suffix appended to his name, “Aal-Al-Shaykh” in fact means “family of the Shaikh,” i.e. indicating he is a descendant of the 18th century Muslim reformer and founder of the Saudi Salafi/Wahhabi trend, Muhammad Ibn Abdul Wahhab.

It is for these reasons that he is considered a lightweight when it comes to Islamic scholarship and is in fact derided by many Saudis from all walks of life.

Now Turkey’s top Muslim cleric has publicly condemned the Saudi Grand Mufti, declaring his statement to be invalid and a contradiction to Islam and its relations with other faiths (H/T: Ibn Abu Talib):

Turkey’s Top Muslim Cleric Slams Saudi Mufti Over His Call to Destroy Churches


Turkey’s top imam blasted the Saudi grand mufti’s call to “destroy all the churches” in the Gulf region, saying that the announcement is in total contradiction to the peaceful teachings of the Muslim religion.

Speaking to Today’s Zaman, Mehmet Görmez, head of the Religious Affairs Directorate, said he cannot accept the Islamic religious order –fatwa — issued by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Shaikh, adding that the mufti’s remarks run contrary to the centuries-old Islamic teachings of tolerance and the sanctity of institutions belonging to other religions.

He emphasized that Islam has always respected religious freedom. “The opinion of the grand mufti also obviously contradicts the agreements that the Prophet of Islam signed with the non-Muslim communities both in Medina and in the region. It also plainly overlooks the right of immunity given by Islam to the holy shrines and temples of other religions on the basis of the rule of law throughout its history,” Görmez explained.

Sheikh Abdulaziz reportedly made the controversial statement during a meeting with a delegation from the Kuwait-based Society of the Revival of Islamic Heritage in response to a query about Shariah law concerning the construction of churches in Muslim countries.He issued the fatwa in March, saying that further church building should be banned and existing Christian houses of worship should be destroyed.

Görmez slammed Abdulaziz, stating, “We strongly believe that this declaration has left dark shadows upon the concept of rights and freedoms in Islam that have always been observed on the basis of its sources, and it will not be recorded as an opinion of Islam.”

He also added, “We, therefore, entirely reject the aforementioned opinion and hope that it will be amended as soon as possible.”

Turkey’s top Muslim cleric challenged the Saudi grand mufti’s assertions on the established principles in Islam. “We believe that the mentioned opinion is evidently against the aims of Islam, especially in a region that witnessed the descent of the Holy Quran and the first application of the Sunnah of the Prophet. It is against the Muslim tradition’s established practice of respecting non-Muslims’ rights as well,” he noted.


  1. I dont understand The children who are being killed in palestine by bloody zionists they dont get such attention …and a speech given by saudi sheikh which was in arabic and people in the west dont give a shit about it ..your promoting it…

  2. “And were it not that Allah checks the people, some by means of others, there would have been demolished monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques in which the name of Allah is much mentioned. And Allah will surely support those who support Him. Indeed, Allah is Powerful and Exalted in Might.” [Surah al-Hajj (20): 40]

  3. He should listen to his own words…

  4. When will people on both sides stop the war of words? It’s the same God. We just have different paths to him. When will people get that in their thick skulls? I’ll never understand people. Stop fighting over who loves God more. He just wants us to love each other to get along and promote gods love for all! How hard is that?

  5. He’s a closet republican.

  6. Turkey imam uses knowledge slap! it’s super effective!

  7. lol Adam XD

  8. The Mufti of Turkey also needs to look in his own backyard and return to their rightful owners the churches and other properties that were confiscated during and after the genocide of 1915. Minorities currently do not have the right to run their own foundations in Turkey. This needs to change. AResolutions in favor of this ha

  9. Sorry– a resolution in favor of this has already been made in Congress.

  10. Turkey is no longer a republic State founded bu Ataturk but is overtaken bu islamic marionet, put in place by USA, to change the Islamic world by so called moderate islam of Fethullah Gulen, who is CIA and Vatican backed, divide and rule principle is working,…, Christian world creation is ongoing and Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen are the Judas of moslim world.

  11. There is no complusion in religion, says that in Qur’an.

  12. Prophet(saw) didn’t distroy churches during his time.

  13. Two wrongs don’t make a right and the philosophy of Islam, has ALWAYS been that the most pious, is the one who is most merciful…shame on the the puppets misleading the people, shame on them for the policies of divide and conquer…The world of Islam has been subjugated…and from within…selling your Islamic principles for the wealth of this world, may be justified by the example set by the Arab monarchies…but that still doesn’t make it right…

  14. Kenan bey, ben de Gülen güvenmiyorum.

  15. This is good that a corrupt political “Islamic” leader is getting slammed by a faithful, humble Muslim. Us Muslims do not go around destroying other faith’s churches because of political standpoints or capital gain. Mashallah for this. Real Muslims, like the Turkish Imam, would never allow Islam to do such a thing.

  16. I so agree with the above statement. Islam is not about distruction of other peoples place of worship. This is the mind of an excentric. Thats ALL

  17. Someone remind me why the US is more friendly with Saudi Arabia than Turkey, again?

  18. It is important to note that during the time of Prophet Muhammad, they peacefully co-existed with the christians and jews.. Even in times of war, he strictly prohibited the muslims not to attack and destroy the churches..

  19. Turkey needs to find some oil ASAP

  20. Saudi Arabia follows Wahabism/Salafism not Islam. Wahabism/Salafis are the worse people in the world, they’re so backward they hate anyone who isn’t backward like them. They hate us Shia Muslims the most because we are strong believers.

  21. what? how could it be. abrahamics not getting along! say it ain’t so!

    didn’t someone just post a comment that there are lots of churches in saudi arabia?

  22. “It is important to note that during the time of Prophet Muhammad, they peacefully co-existed with the christians and jews.. Even in times of war, he strictly prohibited the muslims not to attack and destroy the churches..”

    but didn’t he destroy the pagan idols when he conquered mecca? so muslims only need to “allow people of the book” religious freedom. what about polytheists and animists. how about voodoo? santaria?

  23. Fethullah Gulen is THE Christian horse of troy to destroys THE islam from within, interreligios dialogue is only a means to evangelise, …make them Christian.

  24. tend to agree with the above opinion but think that it would be better if both the islamic leaders should privately sort this out and come out God willing with the islamic view.

  25. I’ve heard many things about Fethullah Gulen, that he’s a Sufi, and I remember reading on FreeRepublic that he’s a Salafi. (Although to a Freeper…a Muslim is a Muslim anyways and that a Shi’a is no different from Salafi), but him being a Christian trojan horse is new to me.

  26. lol. so who exactly has a phobia? trojan horse. now that’s funny.

    “Someone remind me why the US is more friendly with Saudi Arabia than Turkey, again?” are u serious? we have a treaty with turkey. it’s called the north atlatic treaty organization.

    muslims continue to show themselves as enlightened on this site. lmfao


  27. When Christians like Westboro Baptist step out of line, it is Christians who step up first to shout them down and condemn their behavior. We rally together and do whatever we can to prove the fallacy of their actions and how they fail to prove the example of Christ.

    I believe that if this world is to be rid of groups like the Taliban, it will only come from Muslims who are tired of being lumped together with them.

  28. Confusing.Which is the real Islam? The one being followed in Mecca and Medina OR the type being followed in Turkey and USA?Will the real Islam come out and state the truth about Islam?
    The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and we find the Islamic pudding bitter.

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