Dubai: Aaidh Al Qarni has caused a lot of noise after he appeared on a talk show and apologized for his hardline interpretations of Islam and called for a more modernised Islam.
"I apologise in the name of the Sahwa to the Saudi society for the mistakes that were not related to Islam and for the extreme fatwas," Al Qarni told Saudi TV show Al Laiwan airing on Rotana Khaleej on Monday evening.
Al Sahwa movement was a faction of Muslim Brotherhood in Saudi Arabia. They demanded a bigger role for clergy in governing and a more conservative society as a defense against Western cultural influences. They also opposed the presence of US troops on “Muslim land.”
"Our religion is a religion of peace, safety and mercy. Thanks to God, we discovered this in the texts and interpretations of our scholars," Al Qarni said. "You cannot compare my ideas that I had when I was only 24 or 26 years old to my current thoughts.
"Now, I visited 40 countries and read thousands of books. I also knew and met intellectuals, scholars and wise people."
Al Qarni said he now supported the moderate Islam advocated by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
“I apologize to Saudi society for the mistakes that have contradicted the Qur’an and Sunnah, and contradicted the tolerance of Islam, a moderate religion.”
Adding “I am today supportive of the moderate Islam, open to the world, which has been called for by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman,”
Al Qarni exposed Doha’s anti-Saudi posture
Al Qarni apologised in the same interview about his ties with Qatar, accusing it of “conspiring” against Saudi Arabia.
A public apology by Saudi cleric Aidh Al Qarni over links with Qatar and militant views is “bold” and “very important”, Emirati Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Wednesday.
“The Shaikh’s talk reinforces what we know about the policies of [former Qatari emir] Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa and his role,” Gargash said in a tweet.
“As we close the door over the stage of radicalism and manipulation of religion for political goals, we also close the door over the stage of Qatar’s conspiracy against its neighbours,” the official added.
Al Qarni, 59, used to appear on religious shows at the Qatari television Al Jazeera.
In an interview with the Saudi television Rotana Khaljeea this week, the cleric criticised Al Jazeera, sarcastically saying it pushes for freedom everywhere except in Qatar.
He disclosed a meeting with Hamad when the latter was in power before he abidcated the throne to his son Tamim in 2013.
Al Qarni also said he had stopped links with Qatar after he found about its conspiracy against Saudi Arabia, accusing Doha of espousing Saudi dissidents.
In June 2017, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke off diplomatic and transportation ties with Qatar over its support for extremist groups.