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Saudi cleric says don't pray for "infidel" downfall
RIYADH (Reuters) - Muslims should avoid prayers that call for the destruction of non-Muslims, an influential Saudi cleric said.
Many mosque Imams and preachers in some Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia, close their Friday sermons with prayers that call for the destruction of Islam's enemies, especially Israel and its allies.
"Praying for the ruin and the destruction of all infidels is not permitted because it goes against God's law to call upon them ... to take the righteous path," Sheikh Salman al Awdah told Dubai-based MBC Television channel.
"Calling for their offspring and ancestors to be eradicated is not legitimate ... (except) for the tyrants among the infidels and those who violate the sanctities and harm the faithful," he said.
Awdah, whose criticism of the Saudi ruling family in the 1990s earned him praise from Osama bin Laden, has since denounced the Saudi-born al Qaeda leader and said his network was responsible for the deaths of many innocent people.
Saudi Arabia has had mixed success in persuading influential clerics to discourage radical ideology, which espouses violence against non-Muslims as well as Muslims or Muslim governments seen as a un-Islamic.
Awdah is a director of the Arabic edition of the website Islam Today and he has a number of TV shows and newspapers articles. Bin Laden had cited Awdah's writings in his statements before the latter urged him last year to abandon violence.
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