Saudi clerical circles are notorious for spewing anti-Semitic vitriol.
Muhammad Musa Al-Sharif offered a clear new example during a January television appearance, when he advocated for continued suicide operations against Israel and invoked the anti-Semitic publication The Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
According to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Al-Sharif called "martyrdom operations … the pinnacle of Jihad for the sake of Allah." He urged Palestinians "to continue these wonderful, Jihadi, martyrdom operations."
Jews, Al-Sharif said, are annoyed by an Islamic revival among the young. The anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion shows "They have been doing all they can to lead you astray."
The comments contrast with a public relations campaign in the United States aimed at redefining jihad as a peaceful struggle for personal betterment. And, coming from an influential Saudi cleric, they contradict the benign interpretation of jihad offered by John Brennan, President Obama's nominee to head the CIA.
It is not the first time MEMRI has showcased Al-Sharif's radical theological views. In 2011, he lauded the Arab Spring uprisings, saying they paved the way for Islam's return to global rule. Communism and capitalism were bankrupt, he said. "Only Islam is left to lead the world." Muslims "must become soldiers of this emerging leadership."
A year earlier, he minimized the issue of Saudi men marrying girls aged 13 and younger. Out of an estimated 10 million Saudi girls, there were only "3,000 girls under the age of 13 were married off to men more than 20 years their senior," Al-Sharif said.
"Does 3,000 out of 10 million constitute a social phenomenon?"
It is acceptable under Islamic law, he said, and would be unjust to make the practice illegal. "There are many good girls who, at the age of 13 or 14, are developed and ready for marriage."