Muslim pilgrims pray around the holy Kaaba at the Grand Mosque, during the annual hajj pilgrimage in Mecca, September 27, 2014. Photo: REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed/File Photo.
The imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque appeared to hint at normalization between Israel and Saudi Arabia in a sermon delivered on Friday.
Following the Israeli accord with the United Arab Emirates last month, speculation has been rampant on whether Saudi Arabia would follow suit.
The New Arab, a London-based, Qatari-funded private media outlet, reported over the weekend that Abdul Rahman al-Sudais used his sermon to emphasize tolerance and cooperation between Muslims and non-Muslims.
In particular, he cited instances in which the prophet Muhammad had friendly relationships with Jews.
“The prophet had mortgaged his shield to a Jew when he died; he had shared harvest from the land of the Jews of Khaybar,” he said. “The excellence he showed to his Jewish neighbor led the latter to Islam.”
Mohammed al-Sagheer, an Egyptian Islamic scholar, strongly condemned al-Sudais’ sermon, saying, “He is paving the way for normalization and treason from the holy Meccan pulpit.”
Some other users on social media also reacted angrily to the sermon, saying that it would lead to further normalization between Israel and Muslim countries.