2003 News Story

Prince Nayef focuses on terrorism in address to Shura Council

Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdulaziz addressed a regular meeting in Riyadh today of the Consultative Council (Majlis Al-Shura), focusing on the terrorist incidents that have recently taken place in the Kingdom. Prince Nayef declared that the Riyadh bombings and the subsequent arrest of suspects in Madinah and Makkah demand a thorough probing of the root causes of what happened. Exploring the circumstances that led to acts of terror, he said, means dealing with a number of serious questions, including whether they are a result of indigenous ideology or imported culture. He expressed the opinion that it is not enough to bring the criminals to justice; the roots of the problem must be determined, and the reasoning of the terrorists must be understood, why they were convinced they were doing the right thing.

Prince Nayef commented that no society has ever been free of those who are corrupt, and those who break the law; but history has proved that good always overcomes evil. Historically, he said, the people of Saudi Arabia have fought staunchly and defeated anyone who tried to destabilize their country, and quoted international and regional observers praising the Kingdom as an example of a secure and stable society. Nevertheless, he said, there is a need to protect young people from deviant thoughts and extremism, by strengthening the formulation of ideas in society as well as confronting deviant ideologies. He attested to the importance of self-deterrence based on personal belief, describing it as the concerted responsibility of the educational, cultural, information and intellectual institutions. Actual confrontation of criminal acts, however, remains the responsibility of the security forces, which have proved themselves effective, decisive and efficient.

Prince Nayef reported that there are 124 suspects currently in detention, 32 in Riyadh, 43 in Madinah, and 32, including 5 women, in Makkah. Many more have been interrogated, some of them foreigners. Security forces, he said, have confiscated large quantities of firearms and explosive materials. There may be more weapons caches, and more terrorists. Therefore, Prince Nayef concluded, efforts will continue steadfastly, supported by the known responsive cooperation of the citizens, to ensure the country's security and safety.

At a press conference following the meeting, Prince Nayef commented on the recent arrest of Ali Al-Ghamdi, denying that the wanted terrorist had set any conditions for his surrender and cautioning the media not to believe reports before verifying them with the security forces. He appealed to all those who are wanted, to give themselves up; and urged their families to persuade them to do so, since they will be arrested sooner or later.