You probably won’t read about this anywhere else, but the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia has proclaimed that all churches in the Arabian Peninsula must be destroyed. Raymond Ibrahim reports:
According to several Arabic news sources, last Monday, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.”
The Grand Mufti made his assertion in response to a question posed by a delegation from Kuwait: a Kuwaiti parliament member recently called for the “removal” of churches (he later “clarified” by saying he merely meant that no churches should be built in Kuwait), and the delegation wanted to confirm Sharia’s position on churches.
Accordingly, the Grand Mufti “stressed that Kuwait was a part of the Arabian Peninsula, and therefore it is necessary to destroy all churches in it.”
As with many grand muftis before him, the Sheikh based his proclamation on the famous tradition, or hadith, wherein the prophet of Islam declared on his deathbed that “There are not to be two religions in the [Arabian] Peninsula,” which has always been interpreted to mean that only Islam can be practiced in the region.
This is an authoritative pronouncement, as Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah is “the Grand Mufti of the nation that brought Islam to the world. Moreover, he is the President of the Supreme Council of Ulema [Islamic scholars] and Chairman of the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing of Fatwas.” That last title sounds like a joke; unfortunately, it isn’t.
Ibrahim points out the broader significance of the Grand Mufti’s reliance on a hadith, i.e., a statement or action by the Prophet Muhammad:
Likewise, consider the significance of the Grand Mufti’s rationale for destroying churches: it is simply based on a hadith. But when non-Muslims evoke hadiths—this one or the countless others that incite violence and intolerance against the “infidel”—they are accused of being “Islamophobes,” of intentionally slandering and misrepresenting Islam, of being obstacles on the road to “dialogue,” and so forth.
I don’t suppose there are any churches left in Saudi Arabia. It occurred to me to wonder how many churches there are in Kuwait; according to this Catholic site, around 12% of the population is Christian, and there are a number of Catholic and Protestant churches. It will be interesting to see whether they come under attack, and if so, whether the destruction of churches will be reported on.