RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s health ministry on Monday announced 1,114 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 31 new fatalities from the disease.
The new cases reported in the Kingdom increased the total number of people who have contracted the virus to 309,768.
The ministry said that 74 of the newly recorded cases were in Makkah, while there were 56 reported in Jazan and 54 others in Jeddah.
The recent fatalities increased the Kingdom’s COVID-19 death toll to 3,722.
There have been a further 1,044 recoveries from the virus, taking the total number of recoveries to 283,932.
Mecca sermon raises questions on possible Saudi normalisation with Israel
The imam of Mecca's Grand Mosque is accused of justifying normalisation in the wake of Israel-UAE deal
A sermon by Abdulrahman al-Sudais, the imam of the Grand Mosque of Mecca, has caused a stir on social media after it was interpreted by some as a prelude to Saudi normalisation with Israel.
Sudais delivered a Friday sermon in which he preached dialogue and kindness to non-Muslims, making specific reference to Jews.
The comments came less than four weeks after the United Arab Emirates and Israel announced plans to normalise diplomatic ties, amid speculation regarding whether Saudi Arabia would follow suit.
The imam urged worshippers to avoid "any misconceptions about correct beliefs in the heart coexisting with having healthy dealings in interpersonal exchanges and international relations".
He went on to mention several stories from the Prophet Muhammad's life in which he maintained good relations with non-Muslims.
These included the prophet performing wudhu (ablution) from the bottle of a non-Muslim woman, forging a peace agreement with the Jewish inhabitants of the Khaybar region and dealing so well with a Jewish neighbour that he eventually converted to Islam.
"When the course of healthy human dialogue is neglected, parts of people's civilisations will collide, and the language that will become prevalent is one of violence, exclusion and hatred," Sudais said.
He went on to stress the importance of remaining obedient towards leaders and authorities, and to be aware of "misguided factions and groups".
The remarks met with criticism on social media, with many users accusing Sudais of misusing the platform of Islam's holiest mosque.
This cannot be undone and I am sure it will be greatly appreciated.
We apologise but you have been denied access to report posts in this thread. This could be due to excessively reporting posts and not understanding our forum rules. For assistance or information, please use the forum help thread to request more information. Jazakallah