2003 Public Statement

Address to the nation by Crown Prince Abdullah at conclusion of National Forum For Dialogue, August 3, 2003

We have recently witnessed an important development represented in the convening of the National Forum for Intellectual Dialogue. This meeting attracted a wide spectrum of the elite of this beloved country. In the spirit of fraternity, they met under the benevolence of Islam, held discussions on national matters, and reached constructive recommendations that enhance adherence to the Islamic faith and confirm national unity. I thank all of them.

With the aim of promoting dialogue to become a constructive way of life in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, they suggested that the scope of dialogue be continued and expanded so that more speakers could participate and more issues could be debated.

I have the pleasure to announce to you that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz has approved the setting up of the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue to serve as platform to achieve the above-mentioned objectives. Its headquarters, currently under construction in the city of Riyadh, will also utilize the facilities of King Abdulaziz Public Library. I have no doubt that the establishment of the Center and the continuation of dialogue within its boundaries will become a historic achievement that contributes to the creation of a channel for objective expression that would have effective impact in combating extremism and fostering a pure atmosphere that could give birth to wise positions and illuminating ideas that reject terrorism and terrorist thought.

Dear brothers:

In this homeland, we have achieved security, welfare and prosperity, thanks to the Islamic religion, and our adherence to this homeland's unity and belief in equality among its citizens. Any fruitful dialogue should be based on these two pillars and work on strengthening adherence to them. There is no life for us without Islam and no glory without the homeland's unity. We will not accept the abuse of the principles of religion. We also reject any tampering with our national unity. The ethics of dialogue should emanate from the practice of our good ancestors, the very practice embraced by the Kingdom's people.

Our good ancestors, God be pleased with them, argued wisely and kindly. They acted in accordance with the guidance of Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, who said: ''Every believer in God and in the Day of Judgment should speak well or keep silent''. They considered name-calling of Muslims as deviating from Islam, and the killing of Muslims as disbelief.

This is the soundest way for dialogue. I am confident that this homeland's ulema (religious scholars), intellectuals and the educated have been following this straightforward path and realize, as I do, that the Kingdom, leadership and people, will not accept turning the freedom of dialogue into obscene abuse, name-calling or attacking the dignitaries of the nation and good ulema.

Having the honor of serving the Two Holy Mosques and being the niche to which all Muslims turn in prayers, this homeland will not deviate one iota from the principles of Islamic religion and will not accept an ideology that derails Islam's teachings and raises misleading slogans to justify wicked goals that intimidate and brand other Muslims as disbelievers. Our Saudi people, by embracing no alternative to moderation, will reject both extremism and bigotry on the one hand, and reject decadence and libertinism, on the other.

In conclusion, I pray to God Almighty to lead us to the truth and shield us against falsehood. Peace and blessings of God be upon you.