Abdul Wahab Bashir, Arab News
Wednesday 16 June 2004
Last Update 16 June 2004 12:00 am
JEDDAH, 16 June 2004 — Crown Prince Abdullah yesterday warned that the Kingdom’s patience with terrorists was running out and insisted authorities are up to dealing with the criminals.
He warned there could be no compromise in defending Islam and Saudi Arabia and protecting foreigners in the Kingdom and said scholars and clerics must do more to fight extremism.
Addressing participants in the Third National Dialogue Forum on women’s issues in Madinah, Prince Abdullah said here the coming days would bring good news in the fight against terrorism. His comments were broadcast live on Saudi television.
“As you know, these despicable incidents were being committed by the sons of this country. As a brother and citizen I must say I am appalled and sickened by what happened,” he said.
But he vowed the Kingdom “is capable of doing more than it has done. For the sake of mercy toward the errant group, we maintained patience and refrained from doing certain things that I cannot disclose now. We have been patient all this time... but our patience has limits,” the crown prince said.
The delegates presented him with the recommendations from the three-day forum which made waves in the national and international media.
The recommendations underlined the important role of women in society and called for protection of their rights within the framework of Islam.
Prince Abdullah said the terrorists changed their tactics and began targeting innocent people on the street. Their pretext had been the presence of foreigners in the country, whose protection was the duty of every citizen, the prince said. “It is not just the responsibility of Fahd, Abdullah, Sultan or Mishal” — a reference to himself and his brothers — “but the entire Saudi people.”
Now the terrorists were also targeting “the security men, who are your sons and brothers, and have committed very shameful acts. It pains me to say that these individuals hail from this country, which is known for its adherence to Islamic teachings and for its commitment to meeting its obligations toward its people and the Muslim and Arab nation.”
Prince Abdullah again reiterated that the “enemies of Islam” were behind the terrorist attacks. “You all know those enemies, and the entire world knows them,” he added.
He said there would be no compromise toward any threats to the religion and the country. “Islam is above all considerations, and when it comes to defending the religion and the country the opinion of this or that person will not be sought. Your brothers are now maintaining self-restraint. What you have witnessed over the past days is unprecedented.”
Prince Abdullah told citizens to put their trust in their people and in the security forces, who “remain vigilant day and night to protect the country and its people.”
He urged Saudi scholars, clerics and intellectuals to put more effort into countering the wave of terror, reiterating that those who maintain silence about what is happening would be considered complicit with terrorists.