RIYADH: Prominent religious scholars, regional allies and world leaders have condemned the terrorist attack on a Shiite gathering in the eastern city of Saihat that killed five people.
Grand Mufti Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh condemned the attack in Saihat, describing Daesh’s acts and actions as being against the basic tenets of Islam.
In a press statement, GCC Secretary General Abdullatif Al-Zayani described the incident as a “terrible crime” that runs counter to all moral and humanitarian values.
He affirmed GCC countries’ support for Saudi Arabia in measures taken to maintain the safety and security of its citizens and residents on its soil.
He expressed his trust in the efficiency of Saudi Arabia’s security apparatuses in uncovering the circumstances of this “cowardly and terrorist” act and bringing terrorists and their supporters to justice.
Al-Zayani offered his condolences to the Saudi government and the families of victims, hoping the injured a speedy recovery.
In a statement carried by the Bahraini News Agency (BNA), Manama expressed its “sincere condolences” to Saudi Arabia and emphasized its firm stance and solidarity with the Kingdom “in all its actions to maintain its security and stability.”
US Ambassador Joseph Westphal said in a statement: “The despicable attack in Saihat is a reminder of the scourge of terrorism which we and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia face together. I express my condolences to the families of those who were killed and my wishes for a rapid recovery of those who were wounded.”
In his remarks on Saturday, the grand mufti also said: “Daesh, the enemy of Islam, has unleashed a reign of terror in the Middle East including the Gulf states, killing thousands of innocent people.”
Al-Asheikh called on all Islamic scholars, institutions, media organizations and civil societies “to stand against terrorism,” while referring to the heinous cowardly crime committed by the gunman in Saihat Friday night.
The grand mufti named Daesh as an enemy of Islam, and said that “the reality is that they are shedding Muslim blood, maligning our name and destroying Islam.”
“Daesh cadres are deviants,” he said during prayers earlier at the Imam Turki bin Abdullah Mosque in Riyadh.
“They are neither an Islamic state nor mujahedeen or Islamic mercenaries. Their faith is falsehood … their reality is bloodshed and looting,” said Al-Asheikh.
Jordan said it stands firmly with Saudi Arabia and supports all the measures it is undertaking to fight lawlessness.
“Jordan also extends condolences to Kingdom’s government, Saudi people and families of the victims,” the spokesman said.
Condemning the cowardly act committed in Saihat, Saleh Al-Wohaiby, secretary-general of the Riyadh-based World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), said: “Daesh has been manipulating and misinterpreting the teachings of Islam to further its violent agenda.”
Terror organizations like Daesh are exploiting the power of the Web and the Internet, including social media to create a terrorist threat across the world, he said.
“The terrorists associated with Daesh use messaging and social media services such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp besides other applications,” said WAMY chief.
They have been using media and social media tools to recruit innocent young people for their terror network, which has as its sole agenda to destroy the social fabric, destabilize peaceful countries and eventually to shed blood of human beings.
Referring to the bloodshed and the unrest created by Daesh in the Kingdom and the whole Middle East at large, Sheikh Basel A. Harbi, chief of Rawda Islamic Propagation Center, said that a number of young people have been lured to join the network.
“They are aiming to create problems and spread terrorism in Saudi Arabia, and they wish to create chaos in the country and its neighborhood,” said Harbi, while referring to the growing Daesh presence on social media despite best efforts to block them.
According to a report, efforts are being made by government agencies including NGOs to block terror sites.
Activists on Twitter in Saudi Arabia recently launched an organized campaign to close down all accounts that are accused of promoting Daesh-related ideologies.
The campaign, which included prominent Saudi personalities, was recently able to close down about 300 accounts belonging to Daesh and its supporters.
There are hundreds of thousands of messages being put out every month onto Internet platforms to recruit young minds. Saudi Arabia has so far arrested more than 431 people suspected of belonging to Daesh cells.
These arrests foiled several suicide attacks on public places including mosques, security forces offices and diplomatic missions, the report, quoting the Interior Ministry, said. The report said most of the arrested suspects were Saudi nationals, but also included other nationals from African and Asian countries.

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