In what is seen as ‘security measures’ and an endeavour to separate religion from politics, Saudi Arabia might stop global funding to mosques and allow the mosques to be administered locally.
Bengaluru: In a massive detour from its foreign policy on funding mosques across the world, Saudi Arabia may decide not to pursue it due to “security reasons”.
As reported by a Swiss newspaper, Le Matin Dimanche, Saudi Arabia may decide to hand over a mosque in Geneva to the local administration there, that will also have an elected cleric.
In this regard, former Saudi Arabia's former minister of justice Mohammed Bin Abdul-Karim Issa added that the same measure would be employed for all mosques across the globe.
“The same measures will be taken around the world. In every country, there will be a local board of administration set up in coordination with the national authorities. This is necessary, for example, for security reasons. We should ensure that the mosques end up in safe hands. Then we will no longer intervene.”
The paper added that if the move goes on to become official policy, it will be a huge break from its foreign policy.
It might be recalled that since the 1960s, Saudi Arabia has sponsored multi-million dollar effort to export Wahhabi Islam to the world. By 2007, Saudi Arabia had spent close to $2 billion annually on promoting this ideology.
It is also seen as part of Saudi Arabia's "soft power" having funded mosques in several countries which have Muslim communities including India.
Why the move to stop funding mosques globally
Saudi Arabia's latest statement quoted by the Swiss newspaper points to Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman trying to modernise the country by separating politics and religion with the country already undergoing dramatic changes with women been authorized to drive and cinemas having been reopened.
What is Wahhabism?
In simple words, it is a religious movement founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab. It was founded to restore monotheistic worship. It advocates a purging of such widespread Sunni practices as the veneration of saints and the visiting of their tombs and shrines.
Last Updated 3:06 PM IST