July 1, 2002 Special Dispatch No. 396

Saudi Defense Minister:Yarmulke-Wearing Congressmen to Blame for Media Attacks on Saudi Arabia

July 1, 2002
Saudi Arabia | Special Dispatch No. 396

Saudi Defense and Aviation Minister Prince Sultan bin Abd Al-Aziz recently rebuked Jewish U.S. congressmen. Following a ceremony at the Public Institution For Military Industries in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi prince, who is also the father of Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. Bandar bin Sultan bin Abd Al-Aziz, also discussed Saudi-U.S. relations, the British media, and the Al-Qa'ida threat. The following are excerpts from the Saudi press:

On Jewish U.S. Congressmen
The London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported that when asked about U.S. criticism of Saudi Arabia, Prince Sultan bin Abd Al-Aziz said, "It is enough to see a number of congressmen wearing Jewish yarmulkes to explain the allegations against us."[1]

According to the London-based Saudi daily Al-Hayat, which also reported the incident, the minister cut off a journalist who asked him about the congressmen who attacked Saudi Arabia, stating: "Say 'Jewish congressmen.' It is enough that in the pictures you see some congressmen wearing Jewish yarmulkes. That is sufficient."[2] A similar report appeared in the Saudi daily Al-Jazirah.[3]

On the British Media
Asked about British media reports of the June 20 murder of a British citizen in Riyadh, Prince Sultan bin Abd Al-Aziz said, "Look at your own country – the country with the worst security is Britain."[4]

Following another ceremony the next day, the prince again referred to the British media: "There is a difference between the mutual relations between the governments and the false, phony attacks by the British press on our country. The relations between the two countries will not change in any event; on the contrary, they will deepen. The cooperation between us has lasted years…"

On Evil Columnists
"The evil columnists do not hesitate to attack any stable Islamic and Arab country. I recently asked several friends: 'You are friends working in the Western media. Why do you attack a friendly country with which you have great interests?' They replied: 'We do not curse you. The ones who curse you are two specific [types] of people: the Zionists and those whom you treat well, because they envy you and wish evil upon the [Saudi] state, its security, and its welfare. If there were chaos and anarchy in your [country], as in the others, no one would envy you. Now they envy you, and you are forced to suffer for it.'"[5]

"The image of the Saudi has not changed [following September 11], and remains as it was: a man of religion, a man of love, a man of peace. The existence of deviants is familiar, and history is full of base examples [of people] who perpetrated ugly deeds, since the time of the Prophet and the four righteous caliphs. The existence of deviants is like rotten parts in dates… Were we to support Israel against the Arabs, we would be considered noble by the Western world. Yet, when we support the Palestinian cause and our Arab and Islamic rights, we are subject to criticism."[6]

On Al-Qa'ida
Asked about the terror cell apprehended in the Saudi desert after launching a SAM 7 missile, Prince Sultan bin Abd Al-Aziz said, "I do not believe [that Saudi Arabia is targeted by Al-Qa'ida], but evil exists in every place and at every time. We thank Allah that the state is protected because it clings to Allah and the Sunna of His Prophet Muhammad. Anyone who seeks to do evil will be discovered, apprehended, and tried in accordance with Islamic religious law. But if [you ask me] whether Saudi Arabia is a target, the answer is no… These missiles are light and not carried by cars. SAM 7 and 8 missiles are all light and can be dismantled and put in a suitcase."

"Saudi Arabia's area is vast; its borders are long, and its topography is diverse. Thus, it is difficult to 100% guarantee that forbidden things will not enter. What is certain is that anyone discovered to be involved in these matters, whoever he may be, will be struck with an iron hand…"

"Al-Qa'ida associates itself with Islam, and Saudi Arabia is the summit of Islam. Therefore, everything Islamic is pinned on Saudi Arabia. Yet, Saudi Arabia reflects the proper picture [of Islam] and its proper robe – the white robe. It does not attach importance to [the allegations of] anyone."[7]

[1] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 23, 2002.

[2] Al-Hayat (London), June 23, 2002.

[3] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), June 23, 2002.

[4] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 23, 2002.

[5] Al-Jazirah (Saudi Arabia), June 24, 2002.

[6] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 23, 2002.

[7] Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), June 23, 2002.

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