Fatwa prohibiting traveling abroad causes controversy in Saudi Arabia

Sheikh Abdullah al-Suwailem

A Saudi preacher’s religious edict, or fatwa, that prohibits traveling abroad has caused controversy in the kingdom, with one Saudi columnist denouncing it as “extremist bacteria.”

Sheikh Abdullah al-Suwailem, who is part of the Saudi Arabian Munasaha program that aims to rehabilitate al-Qaeda members held in prison, expressed “fear that whoever dies in the land of infidelity could go to hell,” in statements to the London-based al-Hayat newspaper last week.

“Travelling abroad is forbidden in Sharia except in cases of necessity and with conditions,” he said.