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Saudi Arabia toughens stance on jihadist groups

Saudi Arabia is responding to widespread accusations that it is supporting extremist groups by publicly toughening its rhetoric against jihadists.
People read the newspapers with cover stories of Osama bin Laden, in Riyadh, May 3, 2011. Bin Laden was killed in a U.S. special forces assault on a Pakistani compound, then quickly buried at sea, in a dramatic end to the long manhunt for the al Qaeda leader who had been the guiding star of global terrorism. REUTERS/Mohammed Mashhor    (SAUDI ARABIA - Tags: SOCIETY MEDIA) - RTR2LXUQ

A statement issued by the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia on Aug. 19 warned against the danger of the Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda. It is part of an escalating Saudi stance against jihadist groups in the region, and comes on the heels of its classification of IS and Jabhat al-Nusra as terrorist groups in March.

The harsh statement of the grand mufti was preceded on Aug. 1 by a speech from Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, in which he addressed IS and warned against the danger of armed jihadist groups that declare Muslims infidels and permit the bloodshed of innocents. This royal statement was followed on the same day by a verbal message from the monarch, in which he criticized the Saudi religious establishment for remaining silent and not assuming its duty regarding the terror phenomenon.

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