Following are excerpts from an interview with Saudi cleric Sleiman Al-Dweish, which aired on Al-Daleel TV on April 21, 2009.
Interviewer: Anyone who reads the writings of my guest, Sheik Sleiman Al-Dweish, is shocked by the harsh terms he uses against his rivals, and the details he goes into in expressing his hostility, without any regard for etiquette or for what is politically correct.
Sleiman Al-Dweish: "Bats" [who write anonymously] can be found not only on the Internet. There are such "bats" even in the press.
Interviewer: You are throwing the ball back into our court.
Sleiman Al-Dweish: I am telling you that there are "bats" in the newspapers.
Interviewer: But in newspapers, people sign their names.
Sleiman Al-Dweish: Sometimes the press is disguised as a bat and sometimes as a dinosaur. I know some columnists and even editors-in-chief who write under pseudonyms sometimes.
Many people refer to the terms I use, like "mules" or "fornicators" – but Allah mentioned mules in the Koran, He mentioned dogs in the Koran, He mentioned donkeys in the Koran, He mentioned pigs in the Koran, He mentioned Satan in the Koran. Why don't they relate to the full context of what I say? Why do they only refer to the term "the mules of liberalism"? Besides, I did not compare these people to mules just because I felt like it, but because they actually resemble mules. I will give you an example of this. Mules serve as a riding animal in order to reach a specific destination, while these people are being ridden in order to harm our religion, our country, its principles, and its security. In this sense, they are mules. They are like mules. In the Koran, Allah said about the Jews: "Those who were entrusted with the Torah but did not apply it are like a donkey [carrying books]."
Interviewer: But it could be claimed that all these Koranic terms referred to the infidels, the Jews, and the Christians, while you use them against a group of your fellow Muslims – unless you believe that they are not Muslims, and that would be another issue.
Sleiman Al-Dweish: Using terms and comparisons is not limited to infidels. The Prophet Muhammad compared anyone who takes back a gift to a dog returning to its own vomit.
There are reasons why I use these harsh terms. First, this is the way of the shari'a. We aren't talking about da'wa [proselytizing Islam], which requires us to be lenient. We must draw a distinction between da'wa and [shari'a].
Interviewer: From the perspective of the shari'a... Let me repeat some of the expression you have used: Traitors, idiots, scoundrels, liars, fornicators, fools, mules, pretentious boors, tumors, adolescents, airheads, liars, filth, impure... The list goes on and on...
Sleiman Al-Dweish: I used these terms in the context of full articles...
When I debate with someone with whom I disagree, I hope that Allah will guide either me or him to the truth. But when I debate with someone who knows the truth, but who lies in order to lead people astray, I consider him to be a mule, which is ridden by the enemies of Islam in order to harm this religion.
Interviewer: Our mutual friend, Dr. Muhsen Al-'Awaji, told me that the two of you were in an elevator, along with [Al-Arabiya TV Director] Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, and that you were on your way to meet with some British women journalists...
Sleiman Al-Dweish: No. These journalists were men, not women.
Interviewer: Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed extended his hand to Al-'Awaji, who shook it. But when he extended his hand to you, you refused to shake it. Are these the moral values of Islam?
Sleiman Al-Dweish: I cursed him as well.
Interviewer: On top of everything, you cursed him.
Sleiman Al-Dweish: And if [Saudi author] Turki Al-Hamas were to extend his hand to me, I'd spit in his face. Everybody gets what he deserves.Interviewer: But isn't he a Muslim man?
Sleiman Al-Dweish: He is a man. I know he is a man.
Interviewer: Do you think that cursing Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed will deter him?
Sleiman Al-Dweish: Maybe not. Maybe he will go on with his sins, but I want him to understand that not everyone who meets him will want to greet him. I want him and others to understand that there are men among us who consider it beneath them to shake their hands.
Interviewer: Let me complete the story told by your friend, Dr. Muhsen Al-'Awaji. He said that you went up to meet the British women journalists...
Sleiman Al-Dweish: No, no...
Interviewer: And you were all smiles to them, while you rejected Abd Al-Rahman Al-Rashed, who is a Muslim.
Sleiman Al-Dweish: Here [in Saudi Arabia], they are our guests, and that's why I was polite to them...
Interviewer: By God...
Sleiman Al-Dweish: That's the difference... I was polite, but they weren't women. It was a man.
Interviewer: That is what Muhsen Al-'Awaji told me, and I fear that it was the charms of these Western women that made you smile.
Sleiman Al-Dweish: God forbid.
Interviewer: You go for interviews on Al-Alam TV, even though you know that this is an Iranian, Shiite channel, and these Shiites, according to your ideology, are Rafidites,1 and the extremists among them are not part of Islam. You didn't say on their channel even one tenth of what you say about the liberals. How do you... Do you ingratiate yourself upon these people at the expense of others?
Sleiman Al-Dweish: If I wanted to ingratiate myself upon them, I would not be writing about them. When I appear on these channels – I use them, not the other way around.
Interviewer: How exactly do you use them?
Sleiman Al-Dweish: When I appear on these channels, I defend my country and its institutions. I don't sneak into embassies under cover of night... What I say is broadcast live.
Interviewer: You graduated from Saudi government schools. You also graduated from Saudi universities, right?
Sleiman Al-Dweish: Yes.
Interviewer: I have a question, which although off topic, is necessary in order to shed some light. Why do you prevent your sons and daughters from enrolling in governmental schools? This may seem problematic to people close to your family circle.
Sleiman Al-Dweish: I see students today who receive their M.A., yet cannot find work. If you mean studying in order to find work – there is not point. The streets are full of unemployed people.
And if you mean studying in order to gain knowledge – that can be achieved without enrolling in governmental schools. Take my daughters, for example. They all reach first place in the Koran memorization seminaries for women.
1 The term "Rafidite" is a pejorative term denoting the Twelver Shi'a, because of its rejection of the first three caliphs.