‘terrorist acts that followed were criminal acts’
MADINA: Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, has said that “jihadi acts by the Afghan people against the Soviet occupation were acts of jihad to drive away an oppressor that unjustly occupied Muslim land”.
Speaking Sunday on the first day of the conference in Madina on “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Efforts in the Service of Islamic Causes” held by Madina’s Islamic University, Prince Turki criticized equating jihad with acts of terrorism, saying that “liberating Afghanistan from the oppressive Soviet occupation was an honorable act”.
The prince praised “faces I see in the conference who took part in that effort and then returned to their home countries after finishing their roles in achieving constructive unity”, and described terrorism by contrast as “a criminal act based on foundations outside the scope of jihad”.
“It is a remnant of a takfeeri ideology which has invaded Afghanistan. It has exploited the situation there and crept up to us from Afghanistan. It declares itself the enemy of the whole world in enmity and hate,” he said.
The discussion, the first of three days of dialogues with senior figures from the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Organization of the Islamic Conference, was attended by Prince Abdulaziz Bin Majed, Emir of Madina, and moderated by the head of the Supreme Judicial Council, Saleh Bin Humaid. Over 1,200 scholars and researchers from across the world are also taking part.
Prince Turki addressed them in his opening speech by expounding on the “tireless role of Saudi Arabia led by the Kings of the Kingdom for more than 30 years”.
“With heartfelt sorrow, some Arab nations met the Kingdom’s condemnation of the Soviet invasion and the support of Afghans’ efforts to preserve their nation, putting those nation’s financial interests before that of the shared Islamic brotherhood,” he said.
He also criticized the portrayal of Arab and Islamic issues by the western media which, he said, “focused on the negative” and ignored the positive.
“The Kingdom always responds in statements from the Cabinet and Saudi officials to any criticism,” he said. “Saudi students abroad should also take up this duty, as they are ambassadors of our nation. They should explain the role the Kingdom has taken towards peace, dialogue of civilizations, bringing nations and governments closer together, and eliminating dissension and armed conflict.”
He said that message was not being broadcast effectively in non-Arabic languages.
“We talk a great deal, and with accuracy, about our causes in our own language, but our involvement is decreasing in the western media in various languages.”
When asked by a member of the audience about “hidden hands” attempting to destabilize Saudi efforts to resolve Islamic crises and disputes internally, Prince Turki said “we will not blame others for our failures and mistakes”.
“We will not comply nor allow hidden hands to meddle with us. If we were to allow that to happen, then we should be to blame for it.”
Responding to one lady’s suggestion that he write his memoirs on the Afghanistan issue, Prince Turki said he was reminded of what his father, the late King Faisal, said to someone who made a similar proposal: “If I told the truth in my memories, I would be left with no friends!”
– Okaz/Saudi Gazette