The Saudi messengers of hate on Twitter

Saudi clerics with millions of followers love to ‘smash skulls’ and ‘sever limbs’…


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Traditionally opposed to modern technology, a growing number of religious clerics in countries such as Saudi Arabia, are now using the likes of Twitter and Facebook to promote their messages.

A study conducted by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, looked at the social media output of Saudi clerics for six months in 2011. One notable presence on Twitter is Mohamad al-Arefe, one of three Saudi clerics who each have more than a million followers on the social network, and who once said:

The desire to shed blood, to smash skulls, and to sever limbs for the sake of Allah and in defense of his religion, is, undoubtedly, an honor for the believer.

The study covered more than 40,000 social media postings, and suggested 75 percent of the content was xenophobic, bigoted or hateful.

The problem for Saudi’s rulers is that they’ve effectively entered a pact to keep these hardline clerics on side; a historic result of numerous uprisings and the delicate balance of power in the kingdom.

Indeed Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti, Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, said in March of this year that proponents of women’s rights were ‘advocates of evil and misguidance’, and that it was:

necessary to destroy all the churches in the Arabian Peninsula.

It seems then that the clerics are unlikely to be tempered any time soon.


Read more at Foreign Policy