Riyadh: Fearing rise of Islamic extremism in the Gulf Kingdom, Saudi Arabia has said the preachers in the country will not be allowed to work until they undergo a security screening.
Several government bodies will participate in the new screening amid efforts to boost standards and quality among preachers at large mosques, according to a news report.
The Interior Ministry has notified the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowment, Guidance and Call of the new decision, urging branch managers to abide by the new regulation, the Saudi Gazette report said.
The Ministry of Islamic Affairs put forth several requirements for employing preachers. A Council of Senior Scholars in the country has also introduced a first-of-its- kind interactive platform between council members and citizens in a bid to counter extremism.
Council members will communicate with citizens via lectures, seminars and scientific workshops to combat rhetoric adopted by foreign terror groups to lure vulnerable youth into fighting abroad.
The programme was set up on directives issued by Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, Saudi Arabia`s grand mufti and council president.
The council reaffirms the importance of the speech recently given by Saudi King Abdullah to Islamic and Arab nations, warning them against the dangers of terrorism.
King Abdullah urged religious leaders on Friday to take a united stance against "terrorists" trying to "highjack" Islam.
"Terrorism has taken on new dimensions. Groups that claim they are protecting Islam are, in fact, wreaking havoc in the Arab world," said Fahd Al-Majed, the council`s chief.
These groups commit acts that have nothing to do with Islam, distorting the image of Islam and Muslims and playing into the hands of this religion`s enemies, he added.