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Salafi leaders: Rulers must be obeyed unconditionally

May 26, 2010 10:39 A.M. (Updated: May 26, 2010 4:50 P.M.)
Bethlehem – Ma'an – Salafi leaders do not preach violence, but rather a comprehensive perspective on Islam, the Muslim denominations' sheikhs told Palestine TV's No Spin talk show on Tuesday evening.

Among the leaders hosted on the show were Sheikh Shaker Ibn Khadr Al-Alim, an editor for the Salafi magazine and Sheikh Yassin Al-Astal, head of the Salafi Council in Palestine, participated in the show via live satellite feed from the Gaza Strip. Guests included Abdul-Aleim Da'na, a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine's Central Committee.

Various perspectives were discussed on Salafism, which is currently on the rise in the Gaza Strip. Religious leaders said Salafi teaching required them to obey political leaders under all circumstances - a point countered by PFLP leader Da'na, who refused to accept "unconditional obedience."

"Having a tyrant ruler for seventy years is better than spending one night without a ruler," both Salafi leaders said.

Sheikh Al-Astal said a leader should be followed regardless of affiliation to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, or any other Palestinian faction and expressed his support for President Mahmoud Abbas.

Both Al-Astal and Al-Alim said there were many misconceptions approach on a number of issues, including support for violence, adding that the sect preaches an all-encompassing approach to Islam.

Misunderstanding around the nature of the movement followed the rise of Al-Qaida, Al-Astal said, adding that the movement enjoys full sponsorship from Saudi Arabia.

The PFLP leader called on Salafi groups to formulate a clear strategy for resistance, and while he expressed his disapproval for the Muslim sect's theology, Da'na said he supported its trends.

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