(Adds background on council, council's comments on Syria)
DOHA Nov 14 Saudi Arabia's highest religious
body condemned on Saturday a coordinated assault by gunmen and
bombers that killed 127 people across Paris as contrary to
Islamic State, which is also a sworn enemy of Saudi Arabia,
has claimed responsibility for Friday's attacks.
Saudi Arabia still wields great influence in the Muslim
world, partly due to its wealth and its status as the birthplace
and protector of Islam. But its critics say the kingdom's clergy
have fuelled the rise of radical Islam by spreading their ultra
orthodox Wahhabi school.
"Terrorists are not sanctioned by Islam and these acts are
contrary to values of mercy it brought to the world," the
Council of Senior Scholars said in a statement carried by the
Saudi Press Agency.
The council is the only body in the country authorized to
issue fatwas or Islamic legal opinions.
Saudi Arabia has joined international efforts headed by the
United States to combat the Islamic State group in Iraq and
Syria, and has also worked with Washington in its battle against
The kingdom has itself been hit by a spate of deadly
shooting and bomb attacks, many of them blamed on Islamic State.
(Reporting by Tom Finn; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)