P.K. Abdul Ghafour, Arab News Staff
Saturday 17 May 2003
Last Update 17 May 2003 12:00 am
JEDDAH, 17 May 2003 — Prince Sultan, second deputy premier and minister of defense and aviation, stated yesterday that the perpetrators of Monday’s Riyadh bombings, which killed 34 people including seven Saudis and seven Americans, would receive severe punishment.
“Islam has nothing to do with these terrorist acts that claimed the lives of innocent people,” Prince Sultan told reporters after visiting the family of Fulaih ibn Shayez Al-Anazi, an air force officer who was killed in the incident while on official duty.
Prince Sultan offered his condolences to Anazi’s family and relatives. “The government will take care of the martyr’s family,” he added.
Chief of Staff Gen. Saleh Al-Mahya and Commander of the Air Force Lt. Gen. Abdul Aziz Al-Henaidi accompanied the prince.
In Makkah, the imam of the Grand Mosque denounced Monday’s terror attacks in Riyadh, which had also injured more than 190 people, and said terrorism would never achieve its goals.
“It will only destroy its perpetrators and will not change any policies,” said Dr. Saleh ibn Abdullah Humaid, who is also chairman of the Shoura Council, told Muslims who packed the mosque complex.
He emphasized the need for open and frank dialogue with the young generation to prevent them from being influenced by the ideologies of deviant groups.
“Intellectual exchanges between Islamic scholars and educators and young men and women must be enhanced. We should not ignore the questions of youngsters seeking clarifications,” he said.
Humaid urged the authorities to pay special attention to the needs and worries of youth. “Their needs are not limited to sports and recreation. But we should be keen to correct their beliefs and thoughts,” he explained.
The imam described terrorism as a heinous crime involving as it did aggression, attack, murder and the terrorizing of peaceful and innocent people as well as destruction of property and bloodshed. “This is a disgraceful and cheap act in the eyes of all people who value their humanity,” he added. He refuted charges that the Kingdom’s education curriculum and Islamic propagation methods were the main reasons for the deviation of certain people. “Our curriculum has been in place since the formation of the Kingdom,” he said.
“It has produced several scholars, intellectuals, engineers and doctors. Why they say that a particular group is influenced by our curriculum. They should have asked why there is a change in the attitude and thinking of this group although they studied the same curricula. That means they were influenced by something outside the curricula,” the imam pointed out.
In his Friday sermon, Sheikh Ali ibn Abdul Rahman Al-Hodaifi, the imam of the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, said that killing innocent people was a great crime in Islam.
Meanwhile, Saleh Al-Sheikh, the minister of Islamic affairs, endowments, call and guidance, condemned the Riyadh bombings. Addressing imams and khateebs attending a course in Dalam, he said the perpetrators of the attacks were influenced by wrong ideas. “The Shariah is there for the protection of a person’s self, religion, mind, wealth and honor,” he said.