Saudi Cleric Resigns Over Evolution Dispute

A few days ago we reported Saudi Clerics: Evolution Is Alien Ideology. We quoted Reuters which informed us:

A senior Saudi cleric said religious scholars should vet the curriculum at the kingdom’s only co-educational university, meant to be a beacon of science, to prevent “alien ideologies” such as evolution.

We now have a follow-up on that. At the website, which describes itself as “the online presence of Al Arabiya News Channel, the leading news channel in the Arab world,” we read Saudi cleric resigns over co-ed university spat. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us:

A top Saudi cleric resigned from the board of the Council of Senior Clerics Sunday in the wake of controversy over his statements opposing gender mixing at the first co-ed university in the Kingdom.

Sheikh Saad bin Nasser al-Shethri’s resignation from the senior ulema came just days after he appeared on the Qatar-based al-Majd satellite channel and lashed out at the newly-opened King Abdullah Science and Technology University for offering co-education.

That was fast. But what of his remark about “alien ideologies” like evolution? Let’s read on:

The senior cleric said religious scholars should vet the curriculum to prevent alien ideologies such as “evolution” and set up a committee to ensure it does not violate sharia, or Islamic law.

Except for that “sharia” stuff, he sounds pretty much like any American creationist on a state or local school board. Another excerpt:

He later withdraw his statements and stressed the importance of the university in the progress of education. He also accused journalists of taking his statements out of context.

Ah yes, the ever-popular “out of context” defense. Anyway, he withdrew his statements. Finally:

Saudi king Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, who has promoted reforms since taking office in 2005, accepted Shithri’s resignation.

The context seems clear to us.

Your Curmudgeon never thought we’d have anything favorable to say about an Arabian monarch in connection with The Controversy between evolution and creationism, but we always give credit where it’s due. Therefore: Nice going, Your Majesty!

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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2 responses to “Saudi Cleric Resigns Over Evolution Dispute

  1. Hooray! So there is sanity in the Muslim world! Hopefully the sane people will prevail before the extremist crackpots end up destroying us all. I speak of the religious right here in America too, the ones who Frank Schaeffer (who helped establish the connection between evangelical Christianity and the Republican party back in the 1980s) now calls “the village idiot” of our society.

  2. I’m sorry to hear the cleric had to resign over this. I hope he doesn’t let the doorknob hit him on the way out. That’s assuming if he believes in doorknobs of course.