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More arrests among Saudi sheikhs: Another preacher detained and al-Fawzan subjected to harassment

Saudi preacher Abdulaziz al-Fawzan

Saudi preacher Abdulaziz al-Fawzan may be arrested soon, according concerns on twitter. The “Prisoners of Conscience” account reports that al-Fawzan has suffered increasing levels of harassment by authorities.

Al-Fawzan, a professor of comparative jurisprudence at the Higher Institute of Judiciary at al-Imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University, forwarded a mysterious tweet that he considered to be a warning of his imminent arrest.

He tweeted saying: “My loved ones everywhere, do not forget to mention me in your prayers, may Allah be our defender”.

Read: Saudi arrests actor for sympathising with prisoners

This comes a few days after Al-Fawzan announced his total rejection of the Saudi state’s repression of sheikhs, scholars, on twitter. He also criticized apparently liberal reforms in an interview on al-Majd TV.

In response to these tweets, liberal writers and academics launched a campaign, named “Abdulaziz al-Fawzan the heretic”, accusing him of inciting to challenge state policies and stand against change. Al-Fawzan holds a bachelor’s degree from Al-Qassim University of Sharia and Theology. He taught at the same institute after graduating, where he has been head of the Fiqh Department for years.

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These concerns over al-Fawzan come in the context of a large-scale arrest campaign against Saudi clerics. Most recently this has included Professor Mosaed al-Tayar, who teaches Koranic science and interpretation at King Saud University. The “Prisoners of Conscience” account attributed the preacher’s arrest to his “silence and refusal to go through politics or to praise the policies of Saudi rulers as required from university professors by the authorities”.

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