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Erdogan aide warns Saudi king against executing Muslim scholars

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The handout picture provided by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) on December 9, 2018, shows Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (C) looking on at the Diriya Palace in the Saudi capital Riyadh during the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit. (Via AFP)

An advisor to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has written to Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, warning that the planned execution of Muslim scholars would bring nothing but “disaster” to the monarch.

In an open letter to King Salman published by Turkish daily Yeni Şafak on Monday, Yasin Aktay raised concerns about plans by the Riyadh regime to execute three imprisoned dissidents, Sheikh Salman al-Ouda, Sheikh Awad al-Qarni and Ali al-Omari, after the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The Saudi king, he said, would achieve nothing by executing the scholars.

“That which will bring disaster to you is executing Islamic scholars, which was recently announced. Scholars are the inheritors of prophets, and each scholar is a world on their own. The death of a scholar is like the death of the world. The killing of a scholar is like the killing of the world,” Aktay added.

He also noted that scholars are treasures of the Muslim community and their case is not a domestic issue.  

“The matter of Islamic scholars is not an internal affair. The scholars in question are assets who are acknowledged and revered by the whole Muslim community. They are not your subjects; they are our common treasures, whose advice we heed, and who are beacons of light with their knowledge and stance. The sin of detaining them even an hour in the dungeon, let alone executing them, is enough to destroy an entire life,” Aktay said.

Erdogan’s aide further said that he had met with Ouda and believed that “he does not bear a grain of the extravagance” the Saudi regime had attributed to him.

“The claim of extremism toward Salman al-Ouda is a great slander. On the contrary, he is an extremely sympathetic and logical Islamic scholar who has made Islam appealing to youth and modern-day people with his familiar discourse,” he explained.

Contrary to Ouda, he added, official Saudi scholars — who advocate the radical Wahhabi ideology — encourage people to wage attacks in Afghanistan, ban women from driving and sow discord among Muslims and non-Muslims.

“While your official scholars claimed women were prohibited from driving, he (Ouda) said Muslim women rode camels and horses back in the time of our prophet, and that he did not understand why this was any different from driving a car. It was your official scholars that indoctrinated animosity when they said Muslims can never be friends with non-Muslims, while he said that being kind to and getting along well with non-Muslims who do not have animosity towards you, and co-existing in peace with them is the command of God,” Aktay said.

‘Turkey not an enemy, only seeks justice in Khashoggi case’

Elsewhere in his letter, the Turkish official called on King Salman to deliver justice in the case of the murder of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the kingdom's Istanbul consulate in October 2018, which is reported to have been ordered by the king’s son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Aktay stressed that he and other Turkish officials do not wish ill to the Saudi kingdom although bin Salman “may not like” him because of his role in the investigations related to Khashoggi’s case.

“There is the case of a person who was cruelly and savagely murdered. It is a necessity of justice to find and punish whoever killed him or had him killed. Justice, when served, is what will revive us, even if it is against our self and loved ones," Aktay said.

‘Use your wealth to end sufferings of Muslims’

Erdogan’s aide also urged the Saudi King to use his wealth to solve the problems of the Muslim world and bring an end to their suffering.

He said that the guardianship of the two holy cities of Mecca and Medina does not consist solely of their maintenance, but makes the kingdom duty-bound to alleviate the sufferings of the Muslim world.

“The great wealth and blessings God has granted you give you more than ample opportunities to fulfill this responsibility to the fullest. The tragic contradiction between the wealth under your responsibility and the state of Muslims suffering from starvation and poverty across the world draws everyone’s attention. It is God, the owner of the two holy cities of which you are protector, that rules that the poor have a right over the wealth we own,” Aktay pointed out.

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