Saudi extremist Muslim leader repents, blames atheists

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 18, 2003 (UPI) - A Saudi extremist religious leader repented in public for inciting Saudi youth to carry out terrorist attacks.

Sheikh Ali al-Khoderi appeared on Saudi television Monday night to back track the edicts he issued in the past giving the green light to Muslim extremists to carry suicide attacks, justifying them as holy war.

Al-Khodeiri, who is imprisoned in the May 12 bombing attacks in Riyadh, also backtracked on edicts permitting the killing of Saudi security agents and policemen.

He denounced the bombing of a residential compound in Riyadh earlier this month, saying the act "in which Arab Muslims, including women and children, were killed, is the doing of atheists and non-believers."

Al-Khodeir called on wanted terrorists to turn themselves in to the Saudi authorities and repent, stressing, "Bombing attacks and other acts destabilizing security in the kingdom were utterly rejected and unacceptable."

He said the edicts he issued in the past authorizing the killing of journalists, writers and thinkers was "a wrong experience."

"We had experiences which were not successful and if I had the choice I would not have done that but it is not too late to correct things," he added.

He reiterated that those who commit suicide to kill others "are not mujahedeen (Muslim warriors) but atheists."

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