Sheikh Abdullah bin Sulaiman al-Manea of Saudi Arabia is one of the kingdom’s high-ranking religious scholars and a specialist in Islamic banking, as defined by sharia, or Islamic religious law. Given his many top-level finance industry positions, one has to assume he’s also close to the Saudi royal family, without whose blessing nothing of real consequence happens in the kingdom.
If you're not familiar with al-Manea, as I suspect most GetReligion readers are, take a moment to read his professional bio. It’s a dazzler.
Given his prominence, you’d think Western media -- or at least those that take international news seriously -- would have jumped on a fatwa, or religious ruling, he recently issued permitting Sunni Muslims to pray in Christian churches, Jewish synagogues and even Shiite mosques.
That’s significant stuff for the Arab and Muslim world, where conflict between Muslims and non-Muslims is often a given. Here’s a bit of how it was covered in a few Arab and Muslim English-language news publications.
Here’ the heart of the Arab News story:
Al-Manea gave a fatwa (religious advisory opinion), reported by Al-Anba’ Kuwaiti newspaper, stating that Muslims may pray in Shiite or Sufi mosques, churches or synagogues. He noted that all lands belong to God, and cited the Prophet’s words: “The earth has been made a place of prostration and a means of purification for me.”