Yemen's Ministry of Endowments and Guidance is conducting a campaign against terrorism and extremist ideology nationwide for the second consecutive month.
During the campaign, Friday preachers and religious counsellors seek to make Yemenis aware of the danger terrorism poses and the need for national solidarity to combat extremist ideology, officials said.
"The ministry sent a message to mosque preachers and counsellors stressing the need for them to do their part in guiding worshippers on matters related to religion and educating them about terrorism and the misleading ideology being promoted by al-Qaeda," Sheikh Jabri Ibrahim, the ministry's director general of preaching and guidance, told Al-Shorfa.
"Terrorism has become a danger to society, given how [al-Qaeda] members target innocent civilians," he said. "Preachers and guidance counsellors need to raise public awareness about this danger and [urge them to] safeguard youth against following this dangerous path, which will ultimately cost them their lives and, unjustly, the lives of innocent people."
"Some scholars, preachers and counsellors fervently took it upon themselves to warn people about the danger of extremism and terrorism following the al-Qaeda bombing against security forces in Sabeen Square on May 21st, during a rehearsal for the celebration of the anniversary of Yemen's unification," he said.
"Yemeni scholars agreed unanimously to combat terrorism, regardless of party affiliation, because it threatens the country’s security and stability, and thus it became incumbent on everyone to safeguard lives, assets and property," he said.
Yemen's Minister of Endowments and Guidance Hamoud Abad met with Sanaa preachers and counsellors on July 23rd and underscored the important role guidance counsellors have in educating the public about the dangers of terrorism and extremism.
"The nation faces significant challenges and threats to its security, stability and national unity. Guidance counsellors must shoulder the responsibility of refuting [religious] misinterpretation by using [the Quran] and laws established by the Prophet, peace be upon him, to persuade the public to reject all forms of violence and extremism," Abad told Saba, Yemen's official news agency.
Abad urged guidance counsellors and preachers to be "shepherds of religion, messengers of peace and sources of religious guidance by adopting the principle of moderation and educating the new generation about the dangers of terrorism and how it hinders social development".
Abad instructed the ministry's guidance sector to develop an awareness campaign during Ramadan to highlight the dangers of terrorism and its harmful effects on society.
As part of the campaign, scholars and preachers spoke about terrorist acts and extremism in their Friday sermons.
"We must all work together as one to confront and combat terrorist acts, and they must be condemned and denounced by all scholars in the country to make it easier for everyone to combat these acts," said Sharaf al-Qulaisi, a preacher at Al-Saleh Mosque.
"Everyone has a duty to report individuals who hold extremist views and seek to destroy and undermine security and stability to the relevant authorities, out of faith in their nation, the spirit of co-operation, and to eliminate sedition, which destroys crops and lineage, undercuts the country's security and stability, and terrorises women and children," he said.
"Scholars have the responsibility to educate the children and youth and open their eyes to protect them from confusion and the extremist ideology that terrorist gangs promote," Khaled Merei, a preacher at the Al-Taqwa Mosque in Sanaa, told Al-Shorfa.
"Parents should entrust their children's education to qualified teachers who are free of partisanship, sectarianism and extremist ideas," he said.
"Terrorist gangs target young people because they have no knowledge about anything," Merei said. "They make them believe that they alone are scholars, brainwash them and fill their heads with misconceptions about religion, then equip them with explosive belts."
"The Friday sermon is an effective means to educate the public about crucial issues, foremost of which are misleading ideas and terrorism," said Mohammed al-Ghabri, a political analyst.
"It is the quickest and shortest way to mount a concerted effort against this dangerous phenomenon," he said. "It is important that the sermon is well-conceived and persuasive, making it a very influential tool in combating terrorism."