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Saudi cleric: ‘It is prohibited to protest in Islam’

June 1, 2020 at 12:42 pm

Saudi cleric, Shaikh Assim Al-Hakeem [Zad Academy/ Youtube]

A prominent Saudi cleric, Shaikh Assim Al-Hakeem, has come under fire on Twitter over his response to a question posed to him by a user regarding the permissibility of protesting in Islam, specifically in light of the on-going demonstrations in the US over the murder of an unarmed black suspect by Minneapolis police officers.

The Jeddah-based cleric, who is a well-known propagator in the English language and who regularly appears on Saudi-owned religious satellite channel Huda TV, which is aimed at English speakers told his 161,500 followers that “It is not permissible to protest in Islam”.

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Al-Hakeem came under criticism by many Muslim users, with many citing Quranic principles of standing up against injustice, even were it to be from one’s own family. Other’s highlighted widely known prophetic narrations, such as: “Whosoever of you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; and if he is not able to do so, then with his tongue; and if he is not able to do so, then with his heart—and that is the weakest of faith”.

One user asked how it was then possible for Arabia to revolt against the Ottoman caliphate. However, there were also users who shared Al-Hakeem’s interpretation.

Such ideas appears to be in line with the pro-authoritarian Madkhali brand of Salafism, named after the Saudi theologian Rabi Al-Madkhali, who teaches an ultra-conservative practise of Islam, fully endorsed by the Saudi state. It is particularly popular in eastern Libya where it was tolerated under late-ruler Muammar Gaddafi, today its adherents form many of the Libyan National Army (LNA) under General Khalifa Haftar.

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