The highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia condemned the Islamic State and al-Qaida Tuesday.
“Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism, which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilization, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam.” Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al al-Sheikh said in a statement reported by Lebanon’s The Daily Star. “And Muslims are their first victims.”
The statement was reported hours before a video surfaced of IS beheading a man purported to be American journalist James Wright Foley, and threatening to kill another if the U.S. does not stop bombing Iraq. (RELATED: IS Beheads American Journalist On Camera)
Saudi Arabia belongs to an ultra-conservative Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam, The Daily Star reports, and some preachers endorse beheading for offense such as adultery and apostasy, the state views militant Islamists as a serious threat to stability.
The state labeled IS and al-Qaida as terrorists in March, and threatened prison for anyone offering the groups moral or material support.