Minister of the Interior Prince Nayef Ibn Abdul Aziz in a lengthy interview with the Kuwaiti newspaper Al-Watan which was also published today in Bahrain and Oman, proposed awareness, knowledge and enlightenment to assist in combating terrorism with the aim of completely wiping out this phenomenon. Stating: "Terrorism is categorically rejected in our society", he referred to the draft anti-terrorism agreement scheduled to be endorsed at the upcoming joint meeting of the Arab interior and justice ministers in Cairo. Prince Nayef emphasized that Islam is a religion of tolerance, clemency, justice, and fairness; observes the rights of the individual; prohibits violation of honor and seizure of property; and abhors killing except in execution of God's laws.
Concerning his visits to Yemen carrying messages from Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to the Yemeni President, Prince Nayef stated that strong historical ties bind the two countries, adding that there is an active agreement between the two on cooperation in security matters.
In response to a question on identifying terrorism and whether terrorists might sometimes have the right on their side, Prince Nayef stated that a true Muslim would never commit crimes contrary to his religion, and any individual who exploits religion in furtherance of private interests is doomed to failure, saying: "Terrorism is categorically rejected as a behavior, individually or collectively, in our Arab and Muslim society and culture". Prince Nayef went on to say: "..... we must also differentiate between terrorism and legal struggle for legitimate rights when people are subject to occupation of territory and usurpation of rights." Prince Nayef called for a concerted international effort to combat terrorism. As for improving the image of Islam in the west where some still link it with terrorism, Prince Nayef urged true Muslims to exercise greater patience and to demonstrate and reflect the bright image of Islam through dedication to their religion.
Regarding Saudi Arabia's stance towards countries providing refuge to terrorists or helping them to undermine stability in the GCC member states, Prince Nayef reiterated that international cooperation is imperative to combat terrorism and wipe out its sources. Saudi Arabia, however, does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries and will never accept that others interfere in its internal policies. He also demonstrated indifference to attacks in the foreign media on application of Shari'ah laws as they are stated in the holy Qur'an.
Concerning the recent positive developments in bilateral relations between the Kingdom and Iran, Prince Nayef stated: "Iran is an Islamic country and a neighbor whom we hold in esteem. We are truly interested in enhancing relations with Iran for the benefit and interest of both countries as well as enhancement of stability and security in the region in order to realize construction and prosperity for all."
Turning to the application of Shari'ah to fight drugs, Prince Nayef reported a sharp reduction in the spread of this phenomenon, adding that there is close cooperation in this matter among GCC member states.
In his capacity as head of the manpower council of Saudi Arabia, Prince Nayef praised the positive response of the private sector to replace expatriates with Saudi nationals, and stated that the campaign against over-stayers and illegal laborers in the Kingdom would continue.
Finally, Prince Nayef underscored the importance of the media in crystallizing public opinion and passing on information to future generations through satellite technology, and urged the Arab media to play its role in this.