2004 News Story

Crown Prince speaks out on reform and national dialogue

Deputy Prime Minister and Commander of the National Guard Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz today described the Second National Dialogue recently concluded in Makkah as embodying the spirit of Islamic and national brotherhood, and conducted smoothly in an atmosphere of cordiality and mutual respect. Its theme was ‘Extremism and Moderation: A Comprehensive Approach’, and he vowed that its constructive recommendations for the enhancement of the nation’s unity and its values of moderation and tolerance will receive the utmost attention from the State. He looked forward to the next forum, in Madinah, on ‘Education and Women’.

Crown Prince Abdullah went on to say that in addition to the periodic sessions run by the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, Saudi society is witnessing an expanding dialogue that receives wide media coverage, but advised awareness that this blessing risks turning into a curse, and warned that any exchange of views that does not follow the methodology and ethics of dialogue can become chaotic and detrimental rather than useful. He reminded all Saudis that their nation has a special status, honored by God Almighty to serve the Two Holy Mosques and provide care for the pilgrims. The sons of our country, he said, have inherited the correct religion from their fathers and grandfathers: each citizen is a trusted believer until the opposite is proven, with no room in our society for disbelievers or instigators of sedition. “Our country”, he declared, “will not allow anyone to harm its Islamic religion, in the name of freedom of opinion or any other slogan. Our society derives all its components of existence from the eternal constitution of the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah (traditions of the Prophet). …… [our country], God willing, will remain a free Muslim Arab country whose citizens enjoy pride, dignity and security, with no differentiation between one citizen and another.”

Reiterating that with God's help, Saudi Arabia is pressing ahead with its reforms, on a gradual and well-thought-out course that allows no obstruction by calls for either maintaining the status quo or rushing recklessly onto uncharted paths, Crown Prince Abdullah urged all good citizens to work together to realize the desired reforms, to be wise and balanced in discussing public affairs, and to avoid attention-seeking discourse. “We do not wish to hamper responsible and enlightened freedom of expression”, he said, “but at the same time, we will not leave the safety of the homeland and the future of its people to the hands of hypocrites who begin with provocation and end with impossible demands. Extremism is deplorable no matter which group it comes from. Radicalism is hateful whatever position it supports. The right path is the path of moderation.”