Sheik Salman Audeh

  • Spiritual adviser to Osama bin Laden
  • Received numerous phone calls from 9/11 hijackers

Born in 1955, Sheik Salman Audeh of Saudi Arabia was a charismatic, militant, fundamentalist Muslim cleric who served as a spiritual adviser to Osama bin Laden.

Soon after the Gulf War of 1990-91, the Saudi government banned Audeh from speaking or preaching in public because of his strong anti-government positions. Unwilling to be silenced, however, Audeh and a number of fellow radical preachers circulated underground tapes of their sermons condemning the Saudi regime for its corruption, its tolerance for certain Western ideas and customs, and its willingness to allow foreigners into the country. Audeh’s tapes gained a wide audience, despite the fact that anyone found to be in their possession would be subject to immediate arrest.

In 1993, Audeh himself was arrested along with another influential, militant theologian, Safar al-Hawali, for leading a group of some 60-plus devotees in issuing a “petition of advice” to Saudi Arabia’s King Fahd, telling Fahd that his government, in its domestic and foreign affairs, was violating the tenets of purist Islam.

The Saudi Interior Ministry arrested Audeh and Hawali once again on September 13, 1994, this time for violating – by means of their cassette tapes — the government ban on their speaking activities. In response to Audeh’s arrest, public disturbances immediately erupted in Al Buraydah, the farming hub where Audeh was headquartered. Hundreds of the protesters were arrested, and some were allegedly tortured or abused during interrogation.

On June 19, 2001, Audeh issued a fatwa (religious edict) that justified and advocated suicide bombings by Islamic jihadists. During the weeks and months prior to al Qaeda’s deadly September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, Audeh received a number of phone calls from the Hamburg apartment of Mohammed Atta and some of the other 9/11 hijackers.