Leading Muslim organisation condemns Saudi Sri Lanka fake news
A leading Muslim organisation has called out Saudi media for publishing "fake news" related to the Easter Day bombings in Sri Lanka that killed at least 253 people.
The Doha-based International Union of Muslim Scholars (IUMS) condemned Saudi-funded news websites Al-Arabiya and Al-Hadath for publishing a "false report" claiming that cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi had met with the extremist leader allegedly behind the brutal attacks.
The outlets this week published an image claiming to show Qaradawi, who used to head the IUMS, with Zahran Hashim and an Indian cleric.
The union said in a statement that the identity of the man pictured to the right of Qaradawi was in fact Adel al-Harazi - not the Sri Lankan suspect.
"This slander has revealed the extent these two channels to go to fabricate falsehoods in a desperate attempt to put prominent religious figures under suspicion," the statement said.
"Hazari is a scholar in the field of Islamic hadith and is a moderate far from an extremist," it added.
Saudi media has long sought to attack the Doha-based cleric and paint him as an extremist.
Saudi Arabia and its allies have cut off ties with Qatar, accusing it of supporting "terrorist" movements. Doha denies the charges.
The Saudi-led bloc has placed Qaradawi on a "terror list" and the Saudi-backed Muslim World League booted the cleric from the organisation.
Egyptian authorities have sentenced the cleric to life in prison in absentia and have been holding his daughter in solitary confinement for over a year.
Qaradawi, who denies the charges aginst him, has been considered the spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has been blacklisted in Egypt and a number of Gulf countries.