Saudi Arabia’s top clerical council, the only body in the country authorized to issue fatwas or Islamic legal opinions, declared on Wednesday that “terrorism is a heinous crime” under Sharia, and perpetrators should be made an example of.
The statement, days after Saudi Arabia and other Arab states pledged in Jeddah to combat militant ideology, was the most comprehensive attack the kingdom’s conservative clergy have made so far on Islamist radicalism and the Islamic State group.
In a statement carried on state media, they did not specify particular punishments, but said they should act as a deterrent. Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty, usually by public beheading, for many serious crimes.
Signed by all 21 members of the council and quoting extensively from the Koran and sayings of the Prophet Mohammad, the statement also prohibits militant financing or encouraging young people towards militant acts.
It said people who issued fatwas or other opinions that “justify terrorism” were not permissible in any way and were “the order of Satan”.
Saudi Arabia has joined international efforts headed by the United States to combat the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria, and has also worked with Washington in its battle against Al Qaeda.