A senior Saudi religious figure, Sheikh Safar al-Hawali, published a fatwa establishing that "Hizbullah is not the 'Party of God' (the meaning of Hizbullah in Arabic), but the 'Party of Satan.'"
Al-Hawali is considered an extreme religious figure in Saudi Arabia. In the past Osama Bin Laden was among his students.
In the fatwa published on al-Hawali's website, it was written that it is forbidden to pray for Hizbullah, or to support the organization in any way. Al-Hawali's position, from the Wahhabi stream in Saudi Arabia, exemplifies the prevailing historic rift between Sunnis and Shiites, who, in the eyes of the Wahhabists are apostates.
The Wahhabists seek to cleanse Islam from innovations and deviations, which, according to them, violate Islam at its core, such as worshipping holy men and their graves, or decoration of mosques. The controversy between Sunnis and Shiites is not absolute. For example, the Sunni Muslim Brothers in Egypt have declared their support of Hizbullah.
Al-Hawali's words are an addition to a previous fatwa issued two weeks ago in Saudi Arabia by the leader of the Wahhabi movement, Sheikh Abdullah bin Jabrin, which declared that it is illegal to support, join, or even pray for Hizbullah. In the same fatwa, Iran was condemned for her involvement and financing of terrorist organizations.
The Saudi fatwas are joined by a fatwa issued by a Kuwaiti sheikh after the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers on the northern border, in which a harsh condemnation of "the imperialist aspirations of Iran by means of the organization" was published.
The conflict is also expressed in the Saudi government's position which has changed during the fighting. At first, the Saudi government condemned the kidnapping of IDF soldiers calling the Hizbullah operation "unplanned adventures," yet with the continuation of fighting between Israel and Hizbullah, Saudi Arabia called the US to stop Israel's operations in Lebanon lest the entire region deteriorate in war.