|06JEDDAH293||2006-04-12 13:17:00||CONFIDENTIAL||Consulate Jeddah|
VZCZCXRO0933 PP RUEHDE DE RUEHJI #0293 1021317 ZNY CCCCC ZZH P 121317Z APR 06 FM AMCONSUL JEDDAH TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 9051 INFO RUEHZM/GULF COOPERATION COUNCIL COLLECTIVE PRIORITY RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON PRIORITY 1345 RUEHFR/AMEMBASSY PARIS PRIORITY 1423 RUEHRH/AMEMBASSY RIYADH PRIORITY 6401 RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY RUEKJCS/DIA WASHDC PRIORITY RHEHAAA/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY
C O N F I D E N T I A L JEDDAH 000293
1. (C) On April 7, Imam Shaikh al-Qahtani devoted most of
his sermon at the Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal Mosque to the usual
religious matters. As an adherent to the rigid Hanbali
School of Islam, the imam criticized the practice of
celebrating the birthday of the Prophet. However, after the
normal religious admonitions, al-Qahtani launched an
aggressive attack on "what he called...'them' and 'they,'
which the source interpreted as meaning secularists, liberals
and pro-Western Muslims." As an example, the imam asserted
"the Prophet died and was born on the same date (day and
month). He asked how 'they' could overcome the dilemma of
what occasion to celebrate, death or birth." He also
vigorously condemned employment of Gregorian dates to
celebrate occasions. "They," he commented, "are nothing but
a bunch of anti-Islam and anti-Muslim people who continue to
work hand-in-hand with Islam's foes for the destruction of
the Muslim faith."
FROM MECCA: THE MESSAGE WAS THE GREATEST EVENT IN HISTORY
2. (U) Speaking at the Holy Mosque in Mecca on April 7, Imam
Shaykh Abd-al-Rahman al-Sudays assured the congregation that
receiving the Prophet's message was "the greatest event in
humanity's history." He "saved the nation from 'nothingness'
and exposed 'the other religions' falsehood and darkness."
He praised Western thinkers who had recognized the Prophet's
greatness and character.
3. (U) The imam revived the recent cartoon controversy in
saying: "Despite his greatness and beauty, crowned with his
noble character, traits, and perfection, which still radiates
for those who love him, the prophet has been slandered and
attacked by spiteful people who harbor black grudges against
Islam and its Prophet.... In response, "the Islamic nation
expressed its anger and further closed its ranks." The imam
asked Muslims "to stand by their prophet by following his
steps and applying his teachings. He concluded with the
prayer to "strengthen Islam and Muslims, raise the banner of
Sunna, the nation and the religion," and "support mujahidin
in Palestine and the brothers in Iraq."
FROM MEDINA: TRADITIONAL SERMON ENDS WITH PRAYER TO DESTROY
THE ENEMIES OF THE ISLAMIC RELIGION AND FOR THE KING'S SUCCESS
4. (U) Shaykh Abd al-Bari al-Thubati offered a traditional
sermon at the Holy Mosque in Medina on April 7. He related
the story of the tribulations accompanying the Prophet's
migration to Medina as the event differentiating "between
good and bad and turned Muslims' weakness into strength and
their humility into power." The imam ended with a prayer
asking God to "destroy the enemies of the religion, and give
safety to this country and the other Islamic countries." He
also asked success for the Saudi monarch.