In another ominous sign of Islam’s rising tide of extremism, the Saudi Arabian grand mufti issued a fatwa against Christian churches throughout the Arabian Peninsula.
Saudi Arabia’s top Muslim cleric called for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula after legislators in the Gulf state of Kuwait moved to pass laws banning the construction of new Christian facilities, according to Israel Today.
Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, who serves as the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, said the destruction of churches was absolutely necessary and is required by Islamic law, Arabic media reported.
Abdullah, who is considered to be the highest authority on Islamic law in the Sunni Muslim kingdom, also serves as the head of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas.
“The Saudi Grand Imam is very important and indeed was reacting in support of a Kuwaiti cleric or politician concerned about the same issue in his country,” said Dr. Andrew Bostom, author of “Legacy of Jihad.”
Hundreds of churches have been torched or razed in recent years throughout Iraq, Syria, Libya, Nigeria, Pakistan, Indonesia, Sudan, Egypt and nearly every other Islamic country where churches still exist. There is not a single church standing in Saudi Arabia. WND reported in December that the Saudi Kingdom increased the penalty for smuggling Bibles into the country. It is now death.
Even in Indonesia, a country President Obama likes to describe as a “moderate” Muslim country, churches are routinely burned, razed or vandalized to the point where Human Rights Watch called on the Indonesian president to order local government councils to stop destroying churches, to no effect.
See the emotional video clip below of Christians in Indonesia watching as their church is razed by the Islamic government:
In Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood was soundly defeated by a supposedly secular President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, Christians have not been safe, nor have their churches.
“Consider also el-Sisi’s blather some 20 months ago now that he was going to rebuild Copic churches destroyed in the summer 2013 pogroms,” said Bostom. “They are still in ruins.”
Bostom wrote a critique of el-Sisi’s much-ballyhooed Jan. 1, 2015, speech for PJ Media in which he was highly suspect of el-Sisi’s commitment to secular rule.
Robert Spencer, author of the Jihad Watch blog and several books about radical Islam, said this is not the first time the Saudi grand mufti has singled out churches for destruction. It happened in 2012 and 2013.
“The Saudis essentially created ISIS by spreading material such as ‘Jihad: The Forgotten Obligation’ around the world,” he said. “Now they have a caliphate on their doorstep, denying the legitimacy of the House of Saud. It’s poetic justice.”
Spencer said church destruction is a “standard element of Islamic theology.”
“Muhammad mandated that Arabia be cleared of Jews and Christians, and so it is understood that no churches can be on the Arabian Peninsula,” he said. “The Saudi mufti is just reiterating that.”
Muhammad’s orders were, according to the hadiths: “I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim” (written in 1766 by Sahih Muslim 19.4366).
Author and Christian filmmaker Joel Richardson has visited the Arab world several times since the Arab Spring caught fire in 2011. He said, while Saudi Arabia has no church buildings and Christians there must worship underground, there are church buildings in other Gulf Arab nations such as Kuwait and UAE.
“While his comments come as a direct result of Muhammad’s declaration that he would expel every Christian and Jew from the Arabian Peninsula, it actually betrays the growing insecurity among the higher-ranking Muslim officials who know that the underground Christian movement is growing rapidly throughout the Middle East, even in Saudi Arabia,” said Richardson, producer of “End Times Eyewitness” and author of “The Islamic Antichrist.” Muslims are coming to faith and becoming secret followers of Jesus in every segment of the Islamic world, and the Muslim clerics are terrified.”
The irony is that the harder that Muslim radicals push for a more rigid and genuine expression of Islam, the more the people reject it and begin turning away from Islam and toward Christianity, Richardson said.
“Remember that Saudi Arabian Islam, known as Wahabbism or Salafism, is the Islam of ISIS,” he said. “They are destroying churches wherever they go. The iron-toothed beast is devouring the Middle East, and trampling the residue with its feet. But the more they show the true face of Islam, the more Muslims are converting to Christianity. I think in five years, we will see the longer-term fruit of what ISIS has done, in that there will be a million new believers in the Kingdom of God, having all come from the Muslim world.”
Last month, Osama Al-Munawer, a Kuwaiti member of parliament, announced his plans to submit a draft law calling for the removal of all churches in the country, according to the Arabian Businesses news site. Al-Munawer later clarified that the law would only apply to new churches, while old ones would be allowed to remain standing.
That was when the grand mufti weighed in with his opinion, that even existing churches should be demolished.