One of al-Qaeda's more prominent members took a shot at Saudi Arabia's king Monday, accusing him of wanting to "spawn a new religion" and issuing a call to kill him for having betrayed Islam.
In a video message posted on several Islamic websites, Afghanistan terrorist Abu Yahya al-Libi strongly criticized the recently-held inter-faith meeting that drew Islamic, Jewish, and Christian leaders to the city of Madrid.
"The Prophet (Muhammad) ordered us to drive unbelievers from the Arabian Peninsula," he said, according to Italy-based Adnkronos International. "Today, the Saudi royal family is destroying our Islamic tenets by showing Muslims it is possible to spread Christian principles.
"By sitting side by side in public, they are taking part in the Crusader campaign," Libi added.
It's been nearly two weeks since Saudi Arabia hosted the high-profile interfaith meeting in Spain's capital city to highlight the attendees' shared heritage as children of Abraham and to ease tensions between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. At the conclusion of the July 16-18 conference, religious leaders issued a joint statement asking the U.N. General Assembly to call a special session to help foster dialogue between "followers of religions, civilizations and cultures" and prevent "a clash of civilizations."
"Terrorism is a universal phenomenon that requires unified international efforts to combat it in a serious, responsible and just way," representatives at the three-day World Conference on Dialogue said in their final statement, according to Agence France-Presse.
"This demands an international agreement on defining terrorism, addressing its root causes and achieving justice and stability in the world."
In his opening address, Abdullah had exhorted to attendees how extremism rather than religion should be blamed for history's conflict.
"My brothers, we must tell the world that differences don't need to lead to disputes," the Saudi king said through a Spanish interpreter, according to The Associated Press. "The tragedies we have experienced throughout history were not the fault of religion but because of the extremism that has been adopted by some followers of all the religions, and of all political systems."
More recently, Abdullah, one of Sunni Islam's most prominent figures, has been making efforts to present oil-rich Saudi Arabia as a force for moderation in the Middle East, despite the kingdom's adherence to the strict Wahhabi interpretation of Sunni Islam and its religious restrictions at home.
In November, he met with Pope Benedict XVI, marking the first meeting ever between a pope and a reigning Saudi king.
And in June - at a gathering of Muslim scholars, clerics and other figures in the holy city of Mecca in Saudi Arabia - Abdullah urged representatives of all the monotheistic religions to "meet with their brothers in faith."
"If God wills it, we will then meet with our brothers from other religions, including those of the Torah and the Gospel... to come up with ways to safeguard humanity," he said, according to the state-run Saudi Press Agency.
Abdullah's efforts have been generally welcomed in Israel and by the Jewish community, as well as in the Arab world. Some, however, remain skeptical given the fact that religious practice is so restricted in Saudi Arabia that even certain Muslim sects, such as Sufis and Shiites, face discrimination, while conversion by a Muslim to another religion is punishable by death.
Meanwhile, there are those, such as Libi, who see Abdullah as a betrayer of Islam.
"The call for a rapprochement of religions issued by the [Saudi] tyrant ... is not a spontaneous call ... but is an integral part of the overt Crusader war against Islam and Muslims ... God's enemies only want us to abandon our religion," Libi said in the video posted Monday, according to Reuters.
"This in fact is a call to turn one's back on Islam and ... to look for commonalities with Judaism and Christianity so whatever the three agree on would become the new modern religion which would be allowed to be propagated," Libi said.
The al-Qaeda member accused Abdullah of throwing "those fighting for Islamism" into jail and fraternizing "with those who have offended the Prophet, notably the adulator of the Cross, the Vatican's Pope."
Libi also attacked other Muslim religious leaders, claiming they have colluded in inter-religious dialogue by sitting alongside exponents of other faiths
He concluded the message with a call to kill Abdullah for having betrayed Islam.