Saudi Arabia’s religious police ‘contains extremists’
Sheikh Abdul Latif al-Sheikh was quoted in the Saudi newspaper, Okaz, as saying that he would “eliminate” those he described as “advocates of sedition”.
He said calls for jihad were “void”.
His comments came after a royal decree on Monday specified jail terms of up to 20 years for Saudis who fight in a conflict abroad.
It also said Saudis who joined, endorsed or gave moral or material aid to “extremist religious and ideological groups, or those classified as terrorist organisations”, whether inside or outside the country, faced prison.
The interior ministry estimates that around 1,200 Saudis have travelled to Syria to fight since the uprising began in March 2011.
Many of them have joined Islamist rebel groups that the Saudi government reportedly supports with money and weapons.
However, it fears that Saudi jihadists could switch their attention to their homeland, as happened when many returned from the conflicts in Afghanistan and Bosnia in the 1980s and 1990s.