Top Saudi Imam Sees Conspiracy; Scorns Hindus, Christians and Jews.(WORLD)

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Martin, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

LONDON - Saudi Arabia's top Muslim cleric has called on the Islamic world to unite against a worldwide conspiracy of Hindus, Christians, Jews and secularists threatening Islamic moral values.

Muslims, he said, should cleanse themselves from creeping Western values and American-controlled "globalization."

In a television address monitored here, Sheik Abd-al-Rahman al-Sudays, the imam of the Mosque of Mecca, Islam's holiest shrine, turned his ire on the followers of India's dominant religion as tension mounted between that country and mainly Muslim Pakistan.

"The idol-worshipping Hindus indulge in their open hatred against our brothers and sanctities in Muslim Kashmir, threatening an imminent danger and a fierce war in the whole Indian subcontinent," he said in a live sermon heard throughout the Arab world via the official Saudi national television and satellite channel.

The linkage of Hinduism with the sort of invective normally reserved for Jews and the supporters of Israel - together with scathing remarks about Christians - made the speech unusual.

Since Saudi Arabia's leaders exercise tight control on their media and on their government-appointed imams, their comments - especially from Mecca and on the main television channel - are seen as indicators of the government's views.

The imam lashed out with thinly veiled invective against the United States, with which Saudi Arabia has close economic and military ties. He contrasted the "sublime" truths of Islam with the supporters of "fake globalization that wastes human values and ideals," an apparent reference to the West in general and the United States in particular. …