Religious Dialogue Committee in question [Archives:2005/902/Local News]

December 12 2005

SANA'A – Dec. 9 – The committee, headed by judge Hamoud Al-Hitar, has been purportedly failed in achieving its mission. There has been complaints by security officers demanding the breaking off the committee especially after the recent suicide attack by Yemenis in Iraq. The three Yemenis were a part of the group whom Judge al-Hitar had a dialogue with last year and declared it successful. Many of the supposedly persuaded fundamentalists have returned to working along al-Qaida in Iraq and other countries.

It is estimated that around 500 elements went to Iraq and many are residing in Yemen forming groups.

According to the London-based al-Quds Al-Arabi daily security forces have demanded the dissolving of the committee. Judge al-Hitar who is currently visiting the United States of America has been promoted as a moderate religious scholar and is advocating for the Yemeni government's efforts in fighting terrorism. On various occasions the Committee declared that it had succeeded in persuading the “misled” people into the right track and were, therefore, released after pledging conformity to the law and order.

The Dialogue Committee was established through a presidential decree and is composed of only three scholars headed by Judge Hamod Al-Hitar. Many other religious scholars declined joining the committee in fear that their dialogue with the fundamentalist would backlash and their lives would be targeted by the latest.