Source: The Washington Post
By Nasim Rehmatullah and Harris Zafar
On Monday, March 12th, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah – Saudi Arabia’s supreme religious official – created a stir when he stated that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.” While responding to a question from a Kuwait-based NGO delegation to clarify Islamic law’s position about a proposed Kuwaiti ban on the construction of new churches, the mufti argued that the Prophet Muhammad said the Arabian Peninsula must exist under only one religion and, thus, all churches in the region must be destroyed.
Needless to say, his words have provoked heated responses from Christians throughout the Middle East. All fair-minded people are rightly upset by his remarks, which hold the dangerous likelihood of triggering acts of violence against churches in the Middle East. As Muslims, however, we are also deeply disappointed and offended by the mufti’s blatant disregard for the principles for which Islam’s Holy Scripture and prophet have stood.
The Koran establishes the principle that the origin of all religions is in divine revelation and that their Founders were divinely appointed messengers who must be equally respected. It further commands Muslims to defend all places of worship – churches, synagogues, temples, cloisters, etc – even with their own lives. Far from sanctioning any destruction, our faith instructs us to protect places of worship of all religions.