Jeddah: Md Al-Sulami | Arab News Staff
Published — Monday 18 June 2012
Last update 18 June 2012 7:15 pm
Businessmen in Makkah have expressed their deep sorrow at the demise of Crown Prince Naif on Saturday.
Besides the crown prince’s exemplary service to Haj pilgrims every year, the Makkah people remember with particular thanks the crown prince’s heroic struggle to free the Grand Mosque from the occupation of deviant militants in Nov. 1979.
Chairman of the Makkah Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) Talal Mirza still recollects with awe and admiration the great service done by Prince Naif to the Muslims of the world in general and the Saudis in particular when he successfully led an operation to flush out the terrorists from the Grand Mosque premises about 32 years ago. “I will never forget that cold morning of Tuesday, Nov. 20 in 1979, when a smiling Prince Naif – but with apparent marks of fatigue on his face – appeared on the Saudi television to announce the expulsion of all Juhaiman militants from the Grand Mosque,” Mirza said while condoling the prince’s death.
“With that operation, the world knew that Prince Naif was the strong leader of the Saudi police who successfully handled one of the most difficult crises in the history of modern Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Mazin Tunisi, deputy chairman of the MCCI, said with tears in his eyes that the prince’s death was a great loss to the national workforce and an ordeal for the people.
He said the prince was the first to show the world the potential of ideology as a weapon to counter terrorism, when terror groups started showing up their ugly heads in the Kingdom and abroad in the early 1980s of the last century.
“While the prince was a guiding personality for the religious scholars and intellectuals abroad, he was the strong man in the government and right hand of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah,” Tunisi told Arab News.
Ziyad Farisy, deputy chairman of the MCCI, considered the prince’s death as a loss not only to the Kingdom, but also to both the Arab and Muslim worlds.
“His personality was dear to all both politically and socially,” Farisy said.
The prince was instrumental in formulating major national policies and building up the security structure of the country, he said.
“The prince was able to maintain the security of the country in a way different from the ordinary concept of police style. The credit of making Saudi Arabia the safest country in the world goes to the prince,” he said.
Hisham Al-Sayyid, representative of the Council of Saudi Chambers at the MCCI, said the prince was one of the great leaders who brought the Arab and Muslim world to the front rank among other countries in the world besides keeping the country clean from criminal threats.
Commending the methods adapted by the prince to counter the terrorist menace, Al-Sayyid said the prince eradicated terror activities in the Kingdom in less than five years with two major programs. One was rehabilitating and reeducating the militants under detention before their trial. The other step was to subject convicted militants to psychological and occupational rehabilitation programs to facilitate their smooth return to the social mainstream.
Saad Al-Qarshi, member of the MCCI, said in his condolence message that generations after generations in the Kingdom would remember the great contributions of the prince to peace and stability in the Kingdom.
He also quoted a statement of the prince on the significance of maintaining peace and security in the Kingdom while its neighboring countries were plunged in turmoil: “We are surrounded by evil from all sides. In the north the events in Iraq, in the south it is from Yemen, while Iran is targeting the Kingdom from the east and in the west the crises in Africa. We are aware of it and ready to face them all with our trust in the Almighty Allah and then in our security forces who are willing to undertake their tasks,” Al-Qarshi said.
Waleed Iskandar, another MCCI member, said the prince would always be remembered for the total safety of Haj pilgrims coming from different parts of the world.
The prince’s style of confronting terror activities on an ideological plane has been a major blow to the advocates of extremist ideologies, Maher Jamal, another MCCI member, told Arab News.
“His efforts to tackle extremism in an intellectual manner saved not only the present generation but also the future generation from the claws of the terror menace,” Jamal said, adding that the prince’s style of dealing with terrorism was emulated by many other countries.
While condoling the death of the prince, Saud Al-Saedi, member of the MCCI, said the prince was always ready to tackle any issue that affected the Kingdom or its citizens.
The prince also promoted intellectual discussions and seminars on contemporary issues and cultural activities, he said.
“The prince never allowed any foreign country, whether it was friendly or hostile, to interfere in the internal affairs of the Kingdom,” he said.