Saudi's top cleric calls for destruction of Christian churches

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Abdulla (L) has called for the destruction of churches in the Arabian peninsula.REUTERS/Saudi Press Agency/Handout

A top official in Saudi Arabia is calling for the destruction of Christian churches in the Arabian peninsula.

According to Mohabat News, Saudi Grand Mufti and Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah issued a fatwa against Christian churches in Arab Gulf states after after legislators in the Gulf state of Kuwait moved to pass laws banning the construction of religious sites associated with Christianity.

Sheikh Abdullah told Arabic media that the destruction of Christian churches is required by Islamic law.

In addition to serving as the top Sunni cleric in Saudi Arabia, Abdullah serves as the head of the Supreme Council of Ulema (Islamic scholars) and of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas.

A fatwa is a legal pronouncement in Islamic nations, and is issued by an expert on Islamic law called a Mufti. It is usually issued to provide clarification on matters where the position of Islamic law is unclear.

Saudi Arabia does not host any Christian churches in its jurisdiction, so Christians in the nation worship underground. However, other Gulf States like Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have churches in some communities.

Author and Christian filmmaker Joel Richardson said that the Grand Mufti's fatwa is an indication of the fear of Christianity's rapid growth in the Gulf States' underground in addition to an expression of Muhammad's command to Muslims to "expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula."

"(The fatwa) actually betrays the growing insecurity among the higher-ranking Muslim officials who know that the underground Christian movement is growing rapidly throughout the Middle East, even in Saudi Arabia," Richardson said in WND Faith.

"Muslims are coming to faith and becoming secret followers of Jesus in every segment of the Islamic world, and the Muslim clerics are terrified."