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memri
July 23, 2004 No.
752

MEMRI TV Project Special Report: Arab TV Discusses Terrorism in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Prince Khaled Al-Faysal, Governor of the 'Assir District, was recently interviewed on Al-Arabiya TV. In the interview, Prince Al-Faysal spoke at length about the extremist ideology that has taken over Saudi governmental institutions, from schools to hospitals and orphanages, and the government's inaction.

The following are excerpts from the interview, as well as other programs recorded by the MEMRI TV Project about terrorism in Saudi Arabia:

Saudi Prince on the Cultural Roots of Terrorism in Saudi Arabia

Prince Al-Faysal: "This perverse ideology has spread all over Saudi Arabia, in the schools, the mosques, and everywhere. Today, we even have satellite channels preaching this extreme Takfir ideology. There are some summer camps… I'll give you a simple, odd example: hospitals in Saudi Arabia. The common assumption is that hospitals take care of patients. This is the hospital's main purpose. Why then do hospitals have weekly lectures, called 'guidance lectures?' Who do they want to guide at this hospital? Do they want the patient to come and hear the lecture? Or maybe they want the doctors and nurses to leave their work and come hear someone lecturing them. Additionally, what is the lecture about, who is the lecturer, who is responsible for this guidance?

"Unfortunately, in our mosques and schools there are boys, aged 15-20, who give lectures as if they were religious scholars and even great scholars. In some cases, these boys who give lectures and call themselves preachers, insult and attack Saudi Arabia's greatest religious scholars.

"What did we study at school? What we studied is entirely different from what our children and grandchildren are currently studying at school, even if the curriculum did not change significantly.

"Examining this phenomenon, which spread among schools, universities, institutes, and colleges, has shown that the teachers are not satisfied with teaching the official written curriculum, authorized by the Ministry [of Education] and the state. He has other ideas, which he passes on just by being with these students in one classroom, behind closed doors, or by his being with them in summer camps, or so-called extracurricular activities.

"There are people in our governmental apparatuses who pass these ideas on, support them, and help spread them.

"For example, there's a videotape now circulating in Saudi Arabia of a boy aged 10 or less [in a Saudi orphanage]. He is asked, 'Who is your role model?' and he answers – 'Osama bin Laden.' He is asked about his nationality and identity and he answers – 'Islam.' He is asked about his homeland and he answers – 'The world.' He is asked about Riyadh, the capital and he says 'What is this capital?' He does not know that Riyadh is the capital of Saudi Arabia and he doesn't know there is a country named Saudi Arabia."

Host: " You mean, nationality is being eradicated."

Prince Al-Faysal: "Exactly, this boy holds these views in an orphanage under government supervision." [1]

To view excerpts from the interview on streaming media and/or download broadcast-quality version of the video, go to Clip No. 153 on http://memritv.org/clip/en/153.htm

Criticizing Terrorism

The terror attacks in Saudi Arabia have long been a focal point of Saudi TV reporting. Along with constant incitement to and support for violence by various Saudi clerics, almost every day Saudi TV also features a Saudi cleric condemning it.

One such cleric is Saleh Al-Sidlan, who spoke powerfully against terrorism on Saudi TV Channel 1, accusing terrorists of "distorting the religion of Islam." [2] To view excerpts from the interview on streaming media and/or download broadcast-quality version of the video, go to Clip No. 131 on http://memritv.org/clip/en/131.htm

Another Saudi cleric, Dr. Muhammad bin Suleiman Al-Mani'i, went even further, forbidding the killing of Jews and Christians. In a speech on Saudi TV Channel 1, Sheik Al-Mani'i said: "Islamic law in general prohibits any Muslim from raising a weapon against any lover of peace – dhimmi ['protected person'], Jewish or Christian, a merchant, or anyone who enters [the country] on a work contract. Islamic law permits raising a weapon only against whoever aims a weapon at the Muslim in order to fight him." [3] To view excerpts from the interview on streaming media and/or download broadcast-quality version of the video, go to Clip No. 116 on http://memritv.org/clip/en/116.htm

Inciting Violence

On the other hand, Saudi TV Channel 1 has aired speeches by clerics with an entirely different message. One is Sheik Ahmad bin Abd Al-Latif, a professor at the Saudi Um Al-Qura University, who on a program about religious rulings was asked whether it is permissible to pray for the annihilation of Jews and Christians. "Cursing the oppressing Jews and the oppressing and plundering Christians and the prayer that Allah will annihilate them is permitted," he answered. "In fact, the Prophet himself used to curse some oppressors. But if it is possible, people should pray that Allah guides the others. There is no need for anger to overcome us. We should not pray only for their annihilation and for Allah to take revenge on them." [4] To view excerpts from the interview on streaming media and/or download broadcast-quality version of the video, go to Clip No. 87 on http://memritv.org/clip/en/87.htm

In Support of Terrorism Only In Non-Muslim Countries

An ambivalent Saudi message on terrorism appeared in speeches by Sheik 'Abdallah Muslih, Chairman of the Commission on Scientific Signs in the Koran and Sunnah of the Muslim World League. He spoke about suicide bombings on his weekly religious rulings program on the Saudi-based Iqra TV.

Sheik Al-Muslih concluded that suicide attacks are forbidden when they take place in Muslim countries, but are welcome when the targets are non-Muslim countries: " There is nothing wrong with [suicide attacks] if they cause great damage to the enemy. We can say that if it causes great damage to the enemy, this operation is a good thing. This is when we talk of Dar Al-Harb. But, if we speak of what happens in Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia, some areas in Muslim Algeria, or as we heard a few days ago, in Syria, this is forbidden, brothers! This is the land of the Muslims. We must never do this in a Muslim country." [5] To view excerpts from the interview on streaming media and/or download broadcast-quality version of the video, go to Clip No. 93 on http://memritv.org/clip/en/93.htm

Shifting the Blame: Zionism Is Behind It

On May 1, 2004, Saudi Crown Prince Abdallah stated that Zionism is responsible for terror attacks in Saudi Arabia. "We are convinced that Zionism is behind everything. This has been established, I am not saying by 100 percent, but by 95 percent. [6] " To view excerpts from the interview on streaming media and/or download broadcast-quality version of the video, go to Clip No. 52 on http://memritv.org/clip/en/52.htm

Moreover, on June 23, 2004, on Saudi TV, Crown Prince Abdallah offered the terrorists a month to turn themselves in, promising them "the security of Allah." [7] To view excerpts from the interview on streaming media and/or download broadcast-quality version of the video, go to Clip No. 121 on http://memritv.org/clip/en/121.htm


[1] Al-Arabiya (UAE), July 14, 2004.

[2] Saudi TV 1 (Saudi Arabia), June 23, 2004.

[3] Saudi TV 1 (Saudi Arabia), June 20, 2004.

[4] Saudi TV 1 (Saudi Arabia), May 20, 2004.

[5] IQRA TV (Saudi Arabia), May 20, 2004.

[6] Saudi TV 1 (Saudi Arabia), May 1, 2004.

[7] Saudi TV 1 (Saudi Arabia), June 23, 2004.