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DUBAI (Reuters) - A top Saudi Muslim cleric called on Friday for a global code of conduct for leaders, scholars and young people to halt a further slide into violence and "terror" in the Middle East.
The U.S.-allied kingdom has grown increasingly alarmed since militants from an offshoot of al Qaeda captured large areas of neighbouring Iraq and Syria and declared an Islamic caliphate.
At his Friday sermon in Mecca, the imam and preacher of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Sheikh Abdul-Rahman al-Sudais, decried "mass massacres against humanity" in Gaza, Syria and Iraq.
"All of this happens under the sight and hearing of the international community ... which raises fear that a generation would come to believe only in violence, terror and the clash of civilisations," Saudi state news agency SPA quoted Sudais as saying.
He said "there was an urgent need to prepare a global code of conduct in which the leaders and scholars would deliver their messages and in which the youths would set their thoughts right and the path of the new media is set right," SPA added.
The report did not go into details of the contents of such a code of conduct.
Militant groups regularly use websites to spread messages from firebrand clerics and publicise attacks.
The conservative Islamic kingdom has kept a close eye on sermons for evidence of militancy since al Qaeda staged attacks that killed hundreds in Saudi Arabia a decade ago.
The authorities are worried that anger at the violence in Syria and Iraq, coupled with hardline teachings by some local religious leaders, could inspire a new generation of militants.
(Reporting by Sami Aboudi)