Have Your Say

Medina bombing: Saudis outraged by mosque attack

Abdullah Jaber cartoon showing a masked militant wearing an explosive belt and holding only a few letters of the Arabic world "Islam" to spell out "No Peace". Image copyright Abdullah Jaber/Makkah Newspaper

There was an outpouring of anger and condemnation among Saudis after a suicide bomber killed four security officers near the Prophet's Mosque in the city of Medina, the second holiest site in Islam.

On Twitter, Makkah Newspaper cartoonist Abdullah Jaber shared one of his works showing a masked militant wearing an explosive belt using letters taken from the Arabic word "Islam" to spell out "No Peace".

The #Medina_Explosion hashtag accompanying the cartoon garnered more than 600,000 tweets in 16 hours.

The bombing followed two other suicide attacks in Sunni Muslim-ruled kingdom on the same day - near the US consulate in the second city of Jeddah, and outside a Shia Muslim mosque in the eastern city of Qatif.

The bombings came a day before the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Image copyright Twitter @altriri

Saudi Islamic scholar Abdul Wahhab al-Tariri wrote: "On the most noble of nights, an explosion in Jeddah, an explosion in Medina near the tomb of the Prophet [Muhammad]. Whatever is sacred they violate it. May God protect us from whatever they have planned #Medina_Explosion."

Another Twitter user @Naifco posted: "The more their criminality increases, the stronger we become and the more we unify. God bless those who were killed. To God they return."

Image copyright Twitter @nalfco

No group has yet said it was behind the blasts, but much of the social media reaction apportioned blame to so-called Islamic State (IS).

Using an acronym based on the jihadist group's previous name, more than 200,000 Twitter users had used the Arabic hashtag "#Daesh_Violates_Prophet's_Mosque" within 12 hours of the attack, and on Tuesday morning it was a leading global trend on the site.

Media personality Waleed al-Farraj wrote: "O Daeshi [man who belongs to IS], you will not find any holy text or teaching of the Prophet Muhammad accepting the killing of a Muslim 200 metres away from the burial place of God's Messenger. You are traitors led by hostile intelligence forces".

Image copyright Twitter @waleedalfarraj

Saudi activists also asked people to post pictures of the Saudi flag in solidarity with those affected.

The editor-in-chief of the Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, Salman Aldosary, tweeted: "#Unify_and_display_the_flag_of_the_kingdom... My beloved country, how could I love anything as much as you?"

Image copyright Twitter @SalmanAldosary

The online reaction among IS sympathisers has been mixed.

Some justified the attack on Saudi security personnel, which the group has targeted before. They pointed out that they had been protecting the Sunni-ruled country's Shia, who IS considers irredeemable apostates subject to punishment by death, and facilitating their access to Medina and Mecca, which they believe should be forbidden.

Al-Qaeda supporters and other online jihadists emphasised that only an official claim of the Medina attack would provide answers, and some suggested that regional Shia power Iran or Saudi security forces were behind it.

Related Topics

More on this story