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Man probed for assaulting preaching imam in Saudi Arabia

Afghan believed to suffer from mental issues

Gulf News

Manama: Saudi police are questioning an Afghan man after he tried to bring down an imam delivering a sermon at a mosque pulpit in Taif.

Shaikh Rashid Bin Mofrih Al Shahri, the chief judge of Taif, in Western Saudi Arabia, was talking about the danger of consuming drugs and liquor and their negative effects on young people as part of a Friday sermon when the Afghan stood up, walked up to the pulpit and pulled him down, forcing him to suspend the preaching.

Shocked worshippers rushed to the Afghan national and took him away to a small room where he was kept until the police arrived and escorted him to their station for investigation.

The imam resumed his sermon, but insisted on a compassionate treatment of the Afghan expatriate, saying that he could be suffering from mental issues and that he was not armed, local news site Sabq reported on Sunday.

Muslims are expected to remain quiet and not engage in any form of conversation, even by whispering, throughout the sermon that may last from 15 to 30 minutes.

A police spokesperson confirmed the incident.

“An Asian man believed to be in his 50s assaulted the imam who was preaching at a mosque in the King Fahad area in Taif,” Saleem Bin Sharaf Al Rabii, said. “Some of the people present at the mosque held him until the police took him to the station where he is being investigated. It seems that the Asian man is suffering from psychological issues, but we will wait until the conclusion of the procedures and investigation,” he said.