Welcome Guest! You are here: Home » Saudi Arabia

Arrested in 2018, Imam of Makkah Grand Mosque jailed for 10 years

A Saudi court has sentenced Sheikh Saleh al Talib, a prominent former Imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, to 10 years in prison. Read More

Saturday August 27, 2022 11:55 AM, ummid.com with inputs from Agencies

Sheikh Saleh al Talib

Riyadh: A Saudi court has sentenced Sheikh Saleh al Talib, a prominent former Imam of the Grand Mosque in Makkah, to 10 years in prison, Middle East Eye reported.

About Sheikh Saleh al Talib

The former Imam of the Kaaba has served as a judge in various Saudi courts, including the Emergency Court in the capital Riyadh and the High Court in Makkah, where he worked before his arrest.

According to Al-Jazeera, Sheikh Saleh al Talib gave a sermon against the "oppressive and absolute" rulers in a speech before his arrest.

The former Imam of the Kaaba also criticized the "mingling of promiscuous men and women in concerts and entertainment venues" in his speeches, but he did not directly criticize the government in his sermons.


The Specialised Criminal Appeals Court in Riyadh sentenced Sheikh Saleh al Talib to prison after overturning a previous acquittal, US-based rights group Democracy for the Arab World Now (Dawn) said.

Sheikh Saleh al Talib is in jail since 2018

Saudi authorities first detained Talib in 2018 and gave no reason for his arrest, which came after he delivered a sermon criticising the General Entertainment Authority, a government body in charge of regulating the entertainment industry, according to activists, Middle East Eye reported.

He condemned concerts and events that he said broke away from the country's religious and cultural norms.

Talib has a global following, with thousands of people watching his sermons and recitations of the Quran on YouTube.

His arrest comes as Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman continues his drive to reform Saudi society and diversify the Gulf kingdom's oil-dependent economy.

Other clerics who are in custody

Since MBS, as the Crown Prince is popularly know, assumed de facto power, rights groups say authorities have arrested dozens of several prominent clerics and imams who are critical of his reform agenda, Middle East Eye reported.

Among those detained are Salman al-Odah, who called for the Saudi Arabian people to reconcile their differences with Qataris after Riyadh led a region-wide blockade of the Gulf country.

Also Read | Saudi nod to Cinema Halls in Madinah sparks anger in India, Pakistan

Dawn, a group founded by the late journalist Jamal Khashoggi, confirmed Talib's court sentencing on Twitter.

Abdullah Alaoudh, a spokesperson for Dawn, condemned the prison sentence and said it was part of a growing pattern of clerics and imams facing imprisonment for speaking out against reforms pursued by MBS, Middle East Eye reported.

"The sentencing of the Grand Mosque's Imam Saleh Al Talib to 10 years for criticizing social changes and the sentencing of women activist Salma Alshehab to 34 years for calling for real social reforms is a stark irony that tells us that MBS's oppression threatens every group," said Alaoudh, whose father is Salman al-Odah.

"What is in common between all political prisoners, including Imam Al Talib, is that they peacefully expressed their opinions and got arrested for it. This repression should stop against everyone (with) no exceptions."

Other recent critics arrested include PhD student Salma al-Shehab, who was sentenced to 34 years in prison for tweets that were critical of the Saudi government, Middle East Eye reported.


For all the latest News, Opinions and Views, download ummid.com App.

Select Language To Read in Urdu, Hindi, Marathi or Arabic.

Google News

Share this page

 Post Comments
Note: By posting your comments here you agree to the terms and conditions of www.ummid.com