2014-08-20 Vatican Radio
"Extremist and militant ideas and terrorism which spread decay on Earth, destroying human civilization, are not in any way part of Islam, but are enemy number one of Islam, and Muslims are their first victims," he said in a statement carried by the official Saudi Press Agency.
He later compared them to the Kharijite movement in early Islam, which assassinated the Prophet Mohammed's son-in-law Ali for making compromises to a rival Muslim faction, and has been seen as heretical by most subsequent Muslim sects.
Saudi Arabia follows the ultra-conservative Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam but sees Islamist militants, who staged attacks in the kingdom last decade, as posing a threat to its own stability.
Although senior Wahhabi clerics endorse execution by beheading for offences that include apostasy, adultery and sorcery, oppose women driving or working and describe Shi'ites as heretics, they differ from al Qaeda and Islamic State militants in opposing violent revolt.
Thousands of young Saudis are believed to have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join rebel and militant groups, spurring concern within the authorities that they may eventually launch attacks on their own government.
Saudi Arabia labeled Islamic State, al Qaeda, Nusra Front and other groups as "terrorist" in March and imposed long prison terms for offering them public support or giving them moral or material aid.
Early this month King Abdullah made a speech attacking militant groups that used Islamic justifications, and urged Muslim scholars and leaders to fight against them.
(From archive of Vatican Radio)