Saudi crown prince says Houthi missile attack was ‘last-ditch effort’

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called the missile launches by Houthis toward the Kingdom as “a last-ditch effort.” (AFP)
Updated 28 March 2018

Saudi crown prince says Houthi missile attack was ‘last-ditch effort’

NEW YORK: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has told the New York Times that the seven missiles launched by Iranian-backed Houthi militia at Saudi Arabian cities from Yemen on Sunday was “a last-ditch effort” that only showed their growing weakness.
The crown prince also added that Saudi Arabia was seeking an end to the war through a political process, as well as trying to divide the Houthis by maintaining military pressure on them.
Mohammed bin Salman said, in the interview published by New York Times on Tuesday, that the Houthis who took over the Yemeni capital Sanaa in 2014 were increasingly isolated politically.
Other topics discussed in the article included his plans for economic and social changes in Saudi Arabia as well as his views on the Kingdom’s conflicts with Iran and Qatar.
Crown Prince Mohammed accused Iran of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons so that it could create chaos in the Middle East without fear of retribution.
“We know the target of Iran,” he said. “If they have a nuclear weapon, it’s a shield for them to let them do whatever they want in the Middle East, to make sure that no one attacks them or they will use their nuclear weapons.”
“Delaying it and watching them getting that bomb, that means you are waiting for the bullet to reach your head,” Crown Prince Mohammed said during his first meeting with editors and reporters from New York Times. “So you have to move from today.”
The US and other world powers reached a 2015 agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions. However, some American officials, including President Trump, have criticized the agreement and threatened to repeal it.
Mohammed bin Salman also spoke about Saudi Arabian efforts to combat extremism in the Middle East, saying that he believed Islam had been “hijacked,” and criticizing the way he said that groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and terrorist organizations like Daesh and Al-Qaeda had distorted the religion.
The crown prince is on an extensive tour of the US, and having visited Washington and New York, he will also make trips to Silicon Valley and Houston. His trip is aimed at strengthening ties between Saudi Arabia and the US.
The New York Times interview was published as the Saudi-US CEO Forum began in New York.
The forum was attended by influential economic figures such as Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan, and Adena Friedman, CEO and president of NASDAQ.
It brings together the business elite from the US and the Kingdom for a day of formal presentations, panel discussions, and trade and cultural shows.
During the event, Saudi Arabian and American companies signed 36 memorandums of understanding for deals worth $20 billion.
Meanwhile, Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone Group, was hosting an event for the crown prince.
During his last day in New York, Crown Prince Mohammed met with technology companies.


Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

Updated 17 October 2019

Tolerance key to promoting inclusive society: EU envoy

  • Intellectuals, diplomats discuss challenge of blending cultures, faiths and values

RIYADH/JEDDAH: The European envoy to Saudi Arabia on Wednesday called for more tolerance and respect to help bring diverse societies closer together.

Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.

Organized by the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies (KFCRIS), the event gathered together top intellectuals, diplomats and scholars to debate the issues of tolerance, forgiveness and acceptance of others.

Opening the lecture at the King Faisal Foundation building in Riyadh, d’Urso spoke about tolerance and how it was core to the transformation of societies, especially in Europe which had become more diverse.

“Today’s European society is a mixture of cultures, faiths, values, ideas, and habits. The challenge is to make sure our society is more inclusive, enhance mutual understanding and promote tolerance and respect,” the envoy said.

He pointed to the UN’s blossoming partnership with the KFCRIS and the importance of the lecture as key building blocks in the process of bridging cultural and religious gaps between societies.

“I think there are few more teams that are exchanging on the Saudi and European perspectives of religious tolerance and diversity. All of us know that the KFCRIS builds from the legacy of the late King Faisal and has been a pillar in promoting Islam,” d’Urso added.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Ambassador Michele Cervone d’Urso, head of the EU delegation to the Kingdom, made his appeal as he welcomed attendees to a high-profile lecture to discuss Saudi and European perspectives on religious tolerance and diversity.
  • Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.
  • The director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

He noted that in Europe there were many people of faith that had respect for coexistence. 

Dr. Mohammed bin Abdulkarim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), told delegates that when he talked about tolerance in Islam, he also meant tolerance in Saudi Arabia as a state that applied and was governed by Shariah law.

He said a state that respected others, human existence and brotherhood could not exist “unless there is respect for diversity and differences as a universal norm that no one can collide.”

According to Al-Issa, the Charter of Madinah (regarded as the first Islamic state constitution) was considered one of the best achievements of civil legislation in human history. “This document was held by the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, with the Jews and represented binding legislation for Muslims toward religious minorities.”

The MWL chief noted that the document included the protection of civil and religious rights. “The document cannot be absorbed by extremism, it is clear. These rights and freedoms have been preserved by this legislation. And the Prophet Muhammad coexisted with everyone and understood these differences and diversity.”

In his speech, Al-Issa explained how the Qur’an gave Jews and Christians a special name to celebrate their religious origins where they were called “people of the book,” in reference to the Torah and the Gospel. The history of Christians and Jews was also never omitted.

Addressing the event, director of the European Network Against Racism (ENAR), Dr. Michael Privot, who converted to Islam 26 years ago, spoke about how the EU was characterized by increasing diversity, including religious and philosophical beliefs, even from the Muslim perspective.

“We encounter such a diversity of ways of being Muslim from a theoretical, cultural, philosophical, ideological point of view. Any single Muslim group or community is represented somewhere in Europe and this situation puts European Muslims in a very unique environment which is different from any other Islamic majority society in the world,” said Privot.

He pointed out that for the first time in history Muslim groups from Uzbekistan and Senegal were living together and trying to become a community in European societies.

“Societies, which have completely liberalized the market of religions, believe all faiths are accepted,” he added.

Earlier on Monday, an MWL forum in Makkah recommended that Islamic discourse should adhere to the principles of the Qur’an and Sunnah, the Muslims’ uppermost legislative sources, which are also known as the Two Divine Revelations.

The forum, titled “The Service of the Two Revelations,” called upon concerned authorities in the Muslim world to regulate Islamic fatwas in a way that prevented extremism and stopped producing any misguided explanations of the divinely revealed texts.

The participants also encouraged the use of modern technology, especially social media, to better serve the Qur’an and Sunnah to help link Muslim youths with the two revelations.

In addition, the gathering proposed establishing platforms for producing software and smart apps related to the Qur’an and Sunnah and the launch of an international service award under the umbrella of the MWL.

Al-Issa added that the MWL had staged a number of Qur’an memorization programs in 78 countries and said there were now 68 colleges and institutes where 7,500 students were studying the Qur’an.

“Some 61,275 Qur’an readers have graduated from these institutes, with 5,055 reciters having obtained authentic reading certificates. The IOQAS (International Organization of Qitab and Sunnah) has also carried out 193 training courses and provided nearly 3,000 scholarships,” he said.