JEDDAH — Throughout the past 40 years, Crown Prince Naif protected the nation’s security with the bravery and commitment of a warrior. He stood up against anyone who tried to disturb the Kingdom’s security and guided the nation in times of peril.
The terrorist attacks that hit Saudi Arabia in May 2003, galvanized the country’s resolve against a common foe. It was his brave, resilient and firm stance in confronting anyone who disturbed the Kingdom’s peace and security that defined and sealed the late prince’s legacy.
To him, the security of Saudi Arabia was a red line that nobody dared cross. The way Saudi forces dealt with terrorists and pushed them back became an example that was followed by other Arab and Western countries. In fact, many Western leaders, politicians and security chiefs repeatedly called for benefitting from the Saudi security experience in dealing with terrorism.
Prince Naif recognized the importance of knowledge and education and strove, throughout his period as Minister of Interior, to arm its personnel with the latest in scientific knowledge through intensive programs, making the ministry an authority all citizens were proud of.
His love for charity prompted him to take charge of several humanitarian portfolios and he played a prominent role in the relief operations for countries hit by natural disasters or war, specifically during the two wars that Israel waged against Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Prince Naif was a huge supporter of the Palestinian cause and considered it the Arabs’ first cause. This was manifest during his chairmanship of the Saudi Committee for Support of the Al-Aqsa Intifada, which was established in 2000 in line with the directives of the late King Fahd.
The late prince was a frank and direct man when dealing with the mass media. He would always answer questions and was keen to explain the background of an event or situation, even if it was not meant for publication. “I want you to hear it from me instead of hearing rumors,” became a common phrase at his press conferences. His relations with the media led him to become Honorary President of the Saudi Information and Communication Society.
He was also President of the Supreme Haj Committee, which begins its preparatory meetings for the Haj season immediately following the end of the previous season. He took his Haj duties very seriously and always insisted on carrying out inspection tours of the holy sites himself to check on Haj preparations.
Prince Naif’s paternal role in caring for the families of martyrs who died while protecting the country, emanated from his belief in the vital role the men played to maintain and protect the nation’s security. The fund established by the late prince for the families of martyrs provided SR126 million, of which SR100,000 was paid to each family as immediate compensation, SR500,000 to purchase a home and a lifelong monthly stipend of SR3000 for the martyr’s father and his wives.