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Saudi Top Cleric Slams Extremism

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RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi Arabia’s top cleric says extremism and the ideologies of groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaida are Islam’s top enemy and that Muslims have been their first victims.

Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheik says extremism and terrorism do not belong to Islam and that the followers of these groups do not follow Islam.

His remarks come a day after al-Sheik issued less stinging words in which he described Islamic State fighters as criminals. King Abdullah has been pressing clerics to publicly condemn terrorism.

The Islamic State group’s advances in Iraq and Syria have heightened security concerns in neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia and prompted a number of articles and discussions in local media about how to confront the spread of their extremist ideology.

Meanwhile, a Saudi court has sentenced one man to death and 13 others to prison for their role in attacks on government buildings, residential compounds and planning an assault on the U.S. and British embassies.

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