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RIYADH, April 15 The Saudi Shura has started consultations with a council of ulema over proposed legislation to outlaw the issuance of 'takfiri fatwas' by an individual or body not authorised by the government to do so.

The government's move comes amid complaints by the public that indiscriminate resort to fatwas by individuals and organisations has made a mockery of religious injunctions. A Takfiri fatwa is an edict which declares a certain practice or action as Haram and brands as Kafir (apostate) anyone found to have indulged in such acts.

According to daily Asharq Al Awsat, sessions being held by the body in Riyadh are being treated by authorities as “secret and extraordinary”.