Saudi Arabia's highest-ranking Sunni cleric has branded a deadly attack on Shi'ite Muslims a “criminal act” aimed at "driving a wedge among the sons of the nation."
“God be praised, it will not find a way,” Grand Mufti Abdel-Aziz al-Sheikh told state television on May 23. “The nation and society are united and under a wise leadership."
Sheikh Mohammed Obeidan, a top local Shi'ite cleric, told worshippers, “Mass prayer in a calm, orderly way with self-restraint is the right way to respond to this corrupt force and hateful darkness."
Thousands of protesters took to the streets of the village of Al-Qadeeh late on May 22, hours after a suicide bomber killed at least 21 worshippers in a packed Shi'ite mosque.
Demonstrators said security forces had left their communities unprotected.
The Islamic State extremist group claimed responsibility for the attack.