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Monday, July 15, 2024

Former Imam-e-Kaaba Jailed for 10 Years

Sheikh Saleh al Talib, the former Imam of Makkah's Grand Mosque, was given a 10-year prison term by a Saudi court.

Sheikh Saleh al Talib, the former imam of Makkah’s Grand Mosque, was given a 10-year prison term by a Saudi court.

According to Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN), the former Imam was sentenced to 10 years in prison by the Specialized Criminal Court (SCC) in Riyadh, after overturning his earlier conviction.

Several human rights organizations have reported that Sheikh Saleh was detained by the Saudi authorities in 2018 after he had given a sermon condemning the General Entertainment Authority (GEA). GEA is a Saudi body that oversees the entertainment industry.

Talib’s sermons and Quranic recitations are watched and listened to by a large international audience on YouTube. He disagreed with the expanding celebrations and concerts in the Kingdom since they go against its religious and cultural traditions.

His arrest coincided with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s (MBS) efforts to change Saudi society and diversify the country’s heavily reliant economy on oil.

The Saudi authorities have jailed a number of eminent clerics and imams who oppose MBS’ reform ideas since since he seized de facto control as the Crown Prince, according to the rights organizations.

Salman al-Odah, who demanded that Saudis and Qataris settle their differences after Riyadh imposed a regional ban on the Gulf state, is one of those detained.

Salma al-Shehab, a Ph.D. student and one of the most recent protesters, received a 34-year prison term for her defamatory tweets of the Saudi government.

Condemnations Pour In

Abdullah Alaoudh, a spokesman for the DAWN, condemned the decision and noted that it was part of a growing trend in which clerics and imams are being imprisoned for opposing MBS’s reforms.

Alaoud, son of Salman al-Odah, stated, “The sentencing of the Grand Mosque’s Imam Saleh Al Talib to 10 years for criticizing social changes and the sentencing of women activist Salma al-Shehab to 34 years for calling for real social reforms is a stark irony that tells us that MBS’s oppression threatens every group”.

He added, “What is in common between all political prisoners including Imam Al Talib is that they peacefully expressed their opinions and got arrested for it. This repression should stop against everyone with no exceptions”.

Many twitter users also came forward to express their views.