Prominent sheikh dies in Saudi prison

A well-known Islamic scholar died in a Saudi Arabian prison on Tuesday having been detained since 2016 after sending a “secret advice letter” to the Royal Court, reported Prisoners of Conscience. The group focuses on the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia.

Sheikh Fahd Al-Qadi was one of the most prominent religious preachers affiliated with the Awakening Movement in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi authorities have in in recent years accused the movement of promoting extremist social doctrines, and linked its leaders — several of whom have been arrested — to the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

“We received confirmation about the death of Sheikh Fahd Al-Qadi in prison yesterday,” said Prisoners of Conscience. “He was sentenced last month to six years in prison.”

Al-Qadi’s family accused the Saudi authorities of medical negligence that led to his death. Youssef Al-Qadi, a relative of the deceased preacher, tweeted: “Sheikh Fahd Al-Qadi passed away in detention due to medical negligence. Sheikh Al-Qadi was arrested in 2016 along with several patriotic figures, including Sheikh Abdulaziz Al-Tarifi and Dr Ibrahim Al-Sakran and Dr Mohammed Al-Hudaif.”

The dead man’s cousin and brother-in-law, Ahmed Al-Qadi, is a Professor of Islamic doctrine and movements at Qassim University. “Yesterday,” he wrote, Sheikh Fahd Bin Sulaiman Bin Mohammed Al-Qadi died while practicing patience and endurance. May Allah forgive Abu Abdullah and award him a status of honour among righteous believers.”

The Qassim region lies between Madinah and Riyadh in central Saudi Arabia; it is a stronghold of the Awakening Movement. Sheikh Al-Qadi was best known for his work with the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice and his constant objections to social openness. He called for the preservation of the conservative nature of traditional Saudi society. The Kingdom’s authorities arrested him several times on charges of abusing his jurisdiction as a member of the Commission. However, each detention rarely exceeded a few days before he was released.

Al-Qadi was arrested for the last time in September 2016 after sending a letter to the Saudi Royal Court in which he described violations committed by the Ministry of Education. However, to his surprise, the Royal guards arrested him on charges of “conspiring against the guardians of faith”.

It is significant that Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, is launching a fierce campaign against the Awakening Movement, the country’s largest religious group.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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