Abdul Aziz Al-Asheik
This individual is not a direct affiliate of the Berkley Center.
Abdul Aziz Al-Asheik has been the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia since 1999 and heads the Permanent Committee for Islamic Research and Issuing Fatwas. As grand mufti, Al-Asheik consolidated the power of the mufti and proved to be a staunch ally of the royal family. In 2010, Al-Asheik rebuked the chairman of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, Sheikh Ahmad Qasim Al-Ghamdi, for issuing fatwas against mixed-gender shopping centers, charging that only the highest ranked clerics had the authority to issue fatwas. King Abdullah supported Al-Asheik by forbidding lower-level scholars from issuing religious rulings. A controversial figure, Al-Asheik has received international criticism for condoning child marriage. Although he publicly denounced terrorism and criticized violence in the name of Islam, he has called for the destruction of all Christian churches in the Arabian Peninsula.