Saudi Imam heckled in Geneva: ‘How can you lecture us about peace’
04 July 2018|20 Shawaal 1439|Middle East Eye|Siasat
A video of a man heckling the Imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque, Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, went viral on social media last week, as the imam was questioned on his views on Yemen and Qatar.
The Saudi Imam was bombarded with questions from an an Algerian lawyer and activist at the Islamic Center in Geneva during a lecture on peace and Saudi Arabia’s efforts on achieving peace alongside the United States.
The Algerian man who was later identified as Yakhlef Salah Eddin asked him: “How can you lecture us about peace while you boycott and starve your brothers in Yemen and Qatar?”
Sudais, who had been giving a talk on security at the Swiss mosque, can be seen trying to leave without responding to the heckler, while listeners gather around the questioner.
The Algerian man also had questions for Sudais on his alleged support for coups in Algeria, Egypt and Turkey, calling him a “preacher of falsehood”. Social media users were quick to support the heckling as the video quickly spread amongst users.
While Sudais ignored the audience member, this is not the first time his views have caused controversy.
He sparked outrage in September last year, after claiming that US President Donald Trump, the US and Saudi Arabia were “steering the world to peace”, in comments during a visit to New York that sparked outrage on social media.
He said in a TV interview with Saudi channel Al Ekhbariya that Saudi Arabia and the United States are the “poles of influence in the world”.
They are “steering the world and humanity to the ports of security, peace and prosperity,” he added, claiming that the two countries should unite to “combat terrorism” and to “realise security and international peace”.
The heckler questioned Sudais on these comments, asking: “How can America and the Saudi Arabia lead the nations of the world towards peace and stand over people in peace?”
Since 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has conducted an aerial bombing campaign over Yemen, aimed at countering the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels and supporting the government of President Abd Mansour Hadi.
More than 9,200 people have been killed in Yemen since March 2015, when the Saudi-led military coalition intervened in the war.
Saudi Arabia has been at the forefront of a quartet of states boycotting Qatar after accusing it of funding terrorism.
The UAE, Bahrain and Egypt and the Saudis cut diplomatic ties with the tiny Gulf state last June and imposed an air and land blockade.