2004 Press Release

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud Al-Faisal speaks about the role of the religious establishment in the war against al-Qaeda

[Washington, DC] -- At the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in New York yesterday, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal explained that, contrary to accusations by the Kingdom’s critics, the religious establishment is a critical asset in the nation’s war against Al-Qaeda.  During the CFR conference entitled ‘The United States and Saudi Arabia: A Relationship Threatened By Misconceptions’, Prince Saud stated: “It is the religious establishment in Saudi Arabia that in fact is proving to be the body most qualified to de-legitimatize Al-Qaeda’s claims, the very religious community that is being attacked and discredited.”

 According to Prince Saud Al-Faisal: “The insular extremism of Saudi Arabia’s arch-conservatives is being used as evidence for not only the sympathy, but also the collaboration of Saudi Arabia and its society with Al-Qaeda’s aims and objectives.  Nothing is further from the truth, as evidenced by the war being waged relentlessly against Al-Qaeda in Saudi Arabia, and the support that the society is giving the government’s efforts to rid the country of these evildoers.”

Prince Saud Al-Faisal also explained that attacks on Saudi Arabia and its religious establishment “will undermine the country that is waging total war against them [Al-Qaeda], and that is probably the country most capable of preventing them from spreading their cultist ideology in the Islamic world.”

On April 22, the day after the recent bombing in Riyadh, Shaikh Abdulaziz Al-Ashaikh, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Council of Senior Religious Scholars, issued a statement calling the incident a “forbidden and sinful act”.  The statement continued: “It is also forbidden to justify the acts of these criminals.”  Shaikh Abdulaziz Al-Ashaikh also stated: “You have to be vigilant and have strong will in defending the religion and the Muslim country against these people.”