Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Sheikh, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia's grand mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah al-Sheikh has branded suicide bombers as "criminals" who will go to "hell."
Suicide bombings are "great crimes" and bombers are "criminals who rush themselves to hell by their actions," Sheikh said during a lecture in Riyadh a few days ago, Al-Hayat daily reported Thursday.
Sheikh described suicide bombers as "robbed of their minds... who have been used (as tools) to destroy themselves and societies."
In February 2010, Sheikh denounced terrorism as un-Islamic and condemned the killing of civilians, saying such attacks have nothing to do with the Muslim religion.
His latest remarks come after a preliminary inquiry into a December 5 suicide car bombing and assault on a Yemen Defense Ministry complex found that most assailants were Saudis. Fifty-six people were killed in the attack.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which was formed from a merger of the jihadist network's Saudi and Yemeni branches, has claimed responsibility for the attack.
On Tuesday, a Saudi court jailed an al-Qaeda-linked suspect for 16 years for plotting to kill Sheikh and other clerics.
Al-Qaeda and other extremist groups view the religious establishment of Saudi Arabia as an extension of the state and largely disregard its rulings.
Saudi terrorists have been accused of numerous suicide attacks in Iraq, and 15 of the 19 perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 attacks in the United States were Saudis.