Davoud Al-Sharian, famous host of the al-Thamina program on popular Saudi MBC channel has started using its show to criticize Saudi royals’ support for the war in Syria, making it subject of a wave of attacks by government-sponsored media across the Kingdom.
In this week’s show which was aired on Sunday night, Sharian invited some modern figures among the Saudi clerics who launched an open discussion criticizing some of the key religious figures that they said were behind the plots to send more Saudi youths to Syria.
Hamd al-Atiq, one of the guests on the show, slammed Salman al-Ouda who is a member of the International Union for Muslim Scholars, for supporting sending young people to Syria in his speeches and sermons.
Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Reis, another cleric present in the show, also criticized what is being done in the country under the name of invitation for Jihad and said, “Saudi youths are totally brainwashed before going to fight in Syria”.
In the last week show, Sharian had invited, Um Mohammad, a Saudi mother whose son had left home for Syria, to talk about how his son was deceived by these clerics to go and fight.
Um Mohammad said one of the clerics who had a considerable role in his son’s change of ideas for favoring the Syria war over staying at home was Mohamad al-Arefe.
Arefe is the main cleric of the Mosque of the King Fahd academy of the Saudi Navy and is known for his extremist interpretations of Islam. He was banned from entering Switzerland due to holding extreme views.
Both Arefe and Ouda reacted to the program, which gained considerable popularity in social media among Saudis, calling Um Mohammed a fictitious character and denying that they ever called on people to go and fight in Syria.
In this week’s show Sharian aired parts of sermons given by Arefe, Ouda and several other clerics of their rank, in which they supported Jihad in Syria and fighting against the Syrian government.
The program has caused outrage among Salafi and Wahhabi clerics who have been launching massive campaigns to encourage not only Saudi youths but also followers from other countries for taking part in Syria war.
Sharian has been threatened by Ouda to be legally sued for his accusations if he didn’t give a public apology to him.
Saudi Royals have largely been involved in the war in Syria and there are many reports of their links to the most-feared extremist groups, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and al-Nusra Front.
Syria sank into war in March 2011 when pro-reform protests turned into a massive insurgency following the intervention of Western and regional states.
The unrest, which took in terrorist groups from across Europe, the Middle East and North Africa, has transpired as one of the bloodiest conflicts in recent history.