Radio Islam News and Agencies | 09 Dhul Hijjah 1439/21 August 2018
Sheikh Saleh Aal-Talib, imam and Khateeb of Masjid al-Haram in Makkah, was arrested by the Saudi regime Sunday according to the social media advocacy group Prisoners of Conscience.
The activist group said Aal-Talib’s last sermon in Shawaal on “evil-doing” and highlighting the Islamic duty to forbid the evil was the reason for his detention.
In the same sermon, he made reference to oppressive tyrants.
Sheikh Aal-Taleb’s twitter account has been active following his purported arrest, but sources have questioned whether he is still running it.
Saudi human rights activist Yahya Asiri told al-Jazeera the news of Sheikh Saleh’s arrest had not yet been confirmed by sources close to the Sheikh, but it appeared to be true because the Saudi authorities were trying to arrest anyone who might criticize the regime in the future for any of her actions.
Asiri said in a previous statement to al Jazeera that the arrest of Sheikh Saleh may have been because of his sermon or for some other reason, as the Saudi authorities targeted every influential person with a public presence in the Saudi arena, even those who did not express a political opinion.
Arabic Twitter has been abuzz with discussion in the wake of the reported arrest. Some regime supporters denied the arrest altogether. Commenting on the wider spree of regime arrests, one user wrote, “there is no credible Sheikh who has not been arrested.”
If confirmed, Sheikh Saleh in his detention joins scores of Ulama, intellectuals and activists arrested by the Saudi authorities since September 2017. Saudi activists are suggesting that secret trials will be held in the coming days for eight of the most prominent detainees, including Sheikh Salman al-Awda and Awad al-Qarni.
Leaked information indicates that many detainees have been subjected to serious abuses, including torture, to get them to confess to crimes they have not committed or to abandon their positions that are critical of the authorities.
????Freedom for all the clerics and the preachers who are in jail for months and years with no guilt. pic.twitter.com/D78Q4jN3Kg
— Prisoners of Conscie (@m3takl_en) August 20, 2018
Sheikh Aal Talib is a graduate of Imam Saud University, Riyadh where he obtained a Masters Degree in Comparative Islamic Jurisprudence. He also has a Masters Degree in International Law from George Town, Washington DC, USA. Sheikh Ale Talib is versant in English.
He serves as a judge in the High Court of Makkah, and was appointed as Imam and Khateeb of Masjid Al-Haram in 2003.
In April, Saudi Arabian authorities closed the Twitter account of Sheikh Saud Al-Shuraim, another of the Imams of the Makkah Haram, as per Arabic media reports.
Shuraim had posted comments about political and social issues in the Kingdom and criticised what he believed to be violations of Islamic teachings.