Saudi Arabia’s King Salman issued a decree ordering the establishment of a body to review the interpretations of the teachings of the Islamic prophet Mohammed that are being used to justify violence and terrorism.
These teachings, known as the hadiths (reports or narratives) comprise accounts of the sayings, habits and actions of Mohammed written many years after his death. Different sects of Islam accept different collections of hadith. Some Muslims who call themselves Quranists, only accept the validity of the Quran and none of the hadiths.
Salman directed the Saudi Culture and Information Ministry to establish a body to investigate the hadiths that are being used by extremist organizations to justify their actions.
The ministry said the aim of the new authority would be to “eliminate fake and extremist texts and any texts that contradict the teachings of Islam and justify the committing of crimes, murders and terrorist acts.”
The body will include Islamic scholars from around the world and be headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Hassan al-Sheikh, a member of the Saudi Arabia’s Council of Senior Scholars, the kingdom’s highest religious authority.
Earlier this year, during a visit by U.S. President Donald Trump, Salman inaugurated the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology “to expose, combat and refute extremist ideology,” according to the center’s Twitter account.
While Saudi Arabia has made moves against extremism, it is, at the same time, spending billions of dollars to spread its own extremist version of Islam, Wahhabism, throughout the world through the funding of mosques staffed with Saudi-approved imams. The kingdom has also made enormous donations to U.S. and Western universities to establish Middle Eastern study departments.
Wahhabism has inspired terror groups from ISIS to al-Qaeda and others. The September 11 attacks were carried out mainly by Saudis.