Crown Prince Abdullah Ibn Abdul Aziz, Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard, addressed the eighth Summit of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Tehran, Iran, on Tuesday, December 9, 1997. In his speech, Prince Abdullah urged Muslims to unite and reject extremism.[Full text of speech]
Prince Abdullah said differences among Muslims were natural and no one should seek to impose his will on others. “It is not in the nature of things for all Muslims to arrive at a single interpretation of how the Islamic state should look, or a common approach to our Islamic jurisprudence or a single concept of international politics.”
He went on to say: “Nevertheless we are duty-bound not to use such legitimate differences of opinion as a pretext for hegemony in which each of us may try to dictate to his Muslim brothers how to think and how to work.”
Prince Abdullah urged the Muslim leaders to reject Islamic militancy and terrorism which has shed innocent blood in the name of Islam. “The Muslim world is still suffering from a state of fragmentation and disruption and is going through the worst as a result of extensive militancy which has shed innocent Muslim blood in the name of Islam,” the Crown Prince said, adding that the slogans raised by these militants are “outrageous and have nothing in common with Islam and its spirit of justice and tolerance.”
Prince Abdullah added that many questions arise in Muslim countries, including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, about “the heinous crimes being committed in the name of Islam and under the pretext of creating an Islamic form of government” and asked whether these killers, “who slit the throats of their victims, cut their limbs and mutilate their dead bodies” can be trusted or are qualified to create an Islamic state.
The Crown Prince invited his fellow Muslim leaders to issue a message of consolation to the militants' victims and a declaration “disowning and repudiating any action that is savage, barbaric, immoral and loathsome in the ideals of Islam.”
In his address to the delegates, Crown Prince Abdullah urged them to review the Islamic Nation’s present condition and problems with honesty and candor, as it proceeds from its faltering present to a future fraught with challenges and opportunity.
Prince Abdullah noted that the most important challenge facing the Islamic World is its inability to keep pace with the industrially and technologically advanced nations in the East and West. “This inability is the result of the state of division and fragmentation suffered by our Nation, which is pulled back and forth by 100 banners, torn apart by 100 slogans, and pulled in different directions by 100 conflicting political stands.”