Saudi Arabia to curb radical preachers

Plans to monitor mosques during Friday prayers

The government has announced plans to oversee the preaching of imams in mosques to counter extremist sermons. According to the country’s Minister of Islamic Affairs Saleh al Asheikh, a committee has been established towards “advising” imams, amid concerns that “the use of political sermons divides the community and creates hatred among people”.

“If they respond positively and follow the guidelines,” the minister stated, “they will be allowed to continue. If not, then we will say that they are not suitable to preach.” The minister did not explain how the authorities would police the country’s some 80,000 mosques during Friday sermons.

The plan has already drawn criticism from local media, with one newspaper warning that removing Islam from areas of life would lead to secularisation.