Saudi Arabia’s immediate response to the recent incident of terrorism - the inhuman attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001 - was outrage, followed by swift moves to condemn these “regrettable and inhuman bombings and attacks,” which contravene all religious values and human civilized concepts. The Kingdom also declared its eagerness to cooperate with the United States and the international community in a concerted effort to fight and eradicate all forms of terrorism.
Having itself suffered from terrorist attacks, such as those that killed scores of people in Riyadh and Al-Khobar, the Kingdom is fundamentally opposed to such actions and has been engaged in a long struggle to combat terrorism and identify its perpetrators. As the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Fahd bin Abdulaziz and senior Saudi Arabian officials have said on numerous occasions in domestic and international forums, terrorism is evil by nature and contrary to the teachings of Islam.
On September 14 and and again on September 25, King Fahd sent cables to President George W. Bush in which he conveyed great sorrow and grief over the terrorist attacks. He expressed his condolences to President Bush, to the families of the victims of these explosions and to the American people. At the same time he reiterated condemnation and denunciation of such acts and emphasized Saudi Arabia’s opposition to all forms of terrorism.
The sense of outrage expressed by King Fahd reflected the feelings he had expressed to President Bill Clinton on June 25, 1996, hours after the terrorist incident in Al-Khobar, when he emphasized that terrorism is an evil phenomenon rejected and condemned by all religious faiths.
Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz on September 13 and and again on September 24 spoke by telephone with President Bush and confirmed that the Kingdom would cooperate fully with the United States to find those responsible for the terrorist attacks, saying: “We in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are fully prepared to cooperate with you in every matter conducive to revealing the identity of the perpetrators of this criminal act and bring them to justice.”
In a meeting with President Bush and U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell at the White House on September 19, Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al-Faisal assured President Bush of Saudi Arabia’s full cooperation in the fight against terrorism. Speaking to reporters afterward, he said: “Saudi Arabia will do everything in its power to fight the scourge of terrorism. … This support comes from a country that has suffered from terrorism and knows exactly what it means.” Later, President Bush told the media: “As far as the Saudi Arabians go ... they’ve been nothing but cooperative.”
Meeting with a delegation from the European Union (EU) in Riyadh on September 26, Prince Saud said the war against terrorism involves not just apprehending the perpetrators but “rooting out the political infrastructure of terrorism that helps terrorists spread their deviant ideologies in the international community.”
As part of its efforts to fight terrorism, Saudi Arabia recently joined more than 70 countries in ratifying the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, while its central bank, the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), introduced broad measures to prevent the flow of funds to terrorists.
Meanwhile, senior Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia have stated that the terrorist attacks against the United States were contrary to the teachings of Islam and must be condemned by all Muslims. Statements by the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia and Chairman of the Senior Ulema (religious scholars) Shaikh Abdulaziz Al-Ashaikh, as well as Chairman of the Supreme Judicial Council of Saudi Arabia Salih bin Muhammad Al-Luheidan noted that Islamic law and teachings denounce terrorism, and they characterized the killing of innocent people as a barbaric act that is pernicious, shameless and evil.
In a statement read on Saudi Television on September 14, Shaikh Al-Luheidan said: “It is incumbent upon the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, as a state governed by the spirit and rulings of Islam, to deplore any criminal and corrupt act, irrespective of whether the perpetrators are Muslims or non-Muslims. Those who are truly versed in the fundamentals and reality of Islam know that such acts are crimes of endless harm.”