Religion in brief

Top Saudi cleric: Islamic State is Islam’s enemy

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) – Saudi Arabia’s top cleric says extremism – and the ideologies of groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaida – is Islam’s No. 1 enemy and that Muslims have been their first victims.

Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul-Aziz Al-Sheik also said in his public statement that terrorism has no place in Islam, and the danger of extremists lies in their use of Islamic slogans to justify their actions that divide people.

King Abdullah has been pressing clerics to publicly condemn Islamic extremist groups since the government made it illegal for citizens to fight in conflicts abroad. Clerics who do not condemn terrorism in traditional Friday sermons could face penalties, such as having their licenses to preach revoked.

The Islamic State group’s advances in Iraq and Syria have heightened security concerns in neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia. The group has declared an Islamic state in the territory it controls, imposing its harsh interpretation of Islamic law.

University of Southern California professor Philip Seib (seeb) says the Saudis realize that Islamic State could use social media to make inroads with some Saudis.

Relatives of Pope Francis fatally injured in car crash

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Authorities in Argentina say three relatives of Pope Francis have been killed and a fourth critically injured in a highway car crash.

The small car carrying a nephew of the Pope and his family slammed into the back of a truck, killing the wife and children, one 2 years old and the other 8 months old.

Photos showed the passenger side of the car smashed and crumpled beneath the cargo truck. The accident occurred between the cities of Rosario and Cordoba, apparently as the family was returning to Buenos Aires following a holiday weekend.

Vatican spokesman the Rev. Federico Lombardi said the Pope was informed about the accident and is “deeply pained.”

Pope hopes to visit United States

next year

ABOARD THE PAPAL PLANE (AP) – Pope Francis says he hopes to travel to the United States in September 2015 for a possible three-city tour. The visit would include a rally in Philadelphia, an address to Congress and a stop at the United Nations.

He said a Mexico stop on that trip was possible but not decided yet. He also said he might make one-day visit to Spain next year.

Francis made the comment to reporters on his way back from South Korea.

Worker stabbed at popular San Francisco church

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Police say one person is in custody in connection with the stabbing of a staff worker at a popular church in San Francisco.

San Francisco Police spokesman Officer Gordon Shyy says the worker suffered nonlife-threatening injuries after being stabbed in the shoulder inside Glide Memorial Church yesterday morning. Glide spokeswoman Denise Lamott says the worker was treated by his co-workers and then paramedics before being taken to a local hospital.

Police say a man allegedly involved in the stabbing fled from the church but was found on a nearby bus and detained by officers a few blocks away.