Following are excerpts
from a statement by Saudi Sheik Wajdi Al-Ghazawi, owner of Al-Fajr TV,
which was posted on YouTube on August 4, 2011:
When Al-Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden were at the height of their might,
they were extremely popular in Saudi Arabia. From mosque pulpits across
Saudi Arabia, preachers would pray for their success. Moreover, from
the pulpits of the most important mosques – the Al-Haram Mosque in
Mecca and the Nabawi Mosque in Al-Madina – direct prayers for the
success of Al-Qaeda were made, during the days of the bombing of Tora
Bora: "Oh Allah, help our brothers in Afghanistan." These
supplications were made during evening prayers, as well as Friday prayers.
The preachers would pray for them, in violation of the ministry's instructions.
When the twin towers
in New York were attacked, they handed out sweets on the streets of
Mecca. By Allah, they did. I witnessed this myself. The young people
bowed in prayer and hugged one another out of joy. People were in heaven
because of these young men, who "destroyed America and bombed this
idol." Am I right or not? Was it like that or not?
Back then, when the Taliban
broke off a piece of the nose of the Buddha statue, which was hewn in
the mountain, an entire sermon was dedicated to it in the mosque in
Mecca, and the preacher was later reprimanded for this sermon. The entire
Saudi people supported and loved Al-Qaeda.
This went on until our
brothers in Al-Qaeda – and I don't know what was going through their
minds – began to carry out operations inside Saudi Arabia. That's
when we all raised our hands, and said: "You've gone too far. We
won't support you in this."
The atmosphere here in
Saudi Arabia is one of extremism. It is characterized by focusing on
minor details. Many things are forbidden. Yes, maybe they are indeed
forbidden, but by forcing people to avoid them, and by acting as if
these were major sins, an atmosphere was created that gave rise to extremist
youth, who might act recklessly at the most trivial provocation.
For instance, we blew
out of proportion the issue of music, the issue of smoking, or the issue
of hanging pictures in public places. True, there are clear texts on
these issues, but the young people embraced these issues as if they
were fighting usury, fornication, or alcohol. No, these are not among
the seven major sins. So our society has become extreme.
This extremist atmosphere
has given rise to people who accuse others of heresy, and people who
purport to be waging Jihad. It has created genes that gave rise to cells
of Al-Qaeda and other terrorists. We must examine our breeding ground,
in which these young men were sown.
By Allah, what can possibly
emerge from such an atmosphere? Muftis who accuse others of heresy,
sheiks who incite, and young people who bomb. Am I right or not?