Middle East News
Top Saudi cleric slams Western occupations during Hajj sermon
Nov 15, 2010, 14:10 GMT
Mount Arafat, Saudi Arabia - Saudi Arabia's top Islamic cleric on Monday condemned Western occupations of foreign lands during a key sermon to millions of Muslims performing the annual hajj pilgrimage.
'Islam forbids the occupation of a country, and the unlawful shedding of civilian blood, and the destruction of crops and cattle,' Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh said.
'The rights of people in third world nations is not as it is in other countries, and it is unacceptable that nations occupy these lands and rape them of their riches,' the mufti told a crowd of some 3 million people from around the world.
His speech was given in the mosque at Mount Arafat, where Muslims believe the prophet Mohammed gave his farewell sermon and which opens its doors for worshippers only once a year.
'But violence cannot be cured with violence and neither can terrorism be cured with force, but by lifting injustices levied on oppressed peoples,' he told the pilgrims.
Islam obliges its faithful to carry out the sacred pilgrimage to Mecca and other holy areas in Saudi Arabia once in their lifetime.
Al-Sheikh stressed that Islam is a religion of 'great mercy' and that it preached equality.
Saudi Arabia has recently warned that the hajj pilgrimage could be targeted by terrorist attacks. One group, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has denied it had any such plans.
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