(MENAFN - Arab News) An official at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs said that the ministry recently summoned a number of preachers to investigate some of the statements they published on social media platforms expressing support for radical groups.
Saleh Al-Desmani director of the ministry's branch in Makkah said such statements necessitate further investigation adding that some preachers may be denied the right to deliver sermons.
The director also took the occasion to note that the ministry has not failed in its capacity to fight radicals and hard-liners. His comments came in the light of the criticism the ministry faced during the last Shoura Council session. He explained that the ministry has held numerous educational sessions and courses for preachers and imams across the Kingdom to fight extremism.
Al-Desmani added that the ministry has established a special committee to monitor activity and sermons in mosques. Any individual deemed supporng terrorist groups he noted is summoned for investigation and given a warning. Preachers and imams who continue to behave in a deviant manner are immediately asked to stop delivering sermons.
The ministry allows preachers and imams to speak freely about topics and issues which are socially acceptable and does not support the idea of approving sermons in advance he noted However if a preacher abuses these rights the ministry intervenes.
During the last Shoura Council meeting Mohammed Al-Nagi invited representatives from the ministry to explain their plan on how to combat radical ideology. Haya Al-Maneea in her turn called on the ministry to move away from its traditional approach and face its historic national and religious responsibility to fight radical elements in society by encouraging moderate sermons and dialogue.
Meanwhile Ahmed Al-Zelea suggested that the ministry circulate a unified text to be delivered by all preachers in the Kingdom.