Crown Prince Abdullah's Foreign Affairs Advisor Adel Al-Jubeir held a press conference on June 2, 2004 at the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington DC, together with two senior U.S. officials, to designate five Al-Haramain branches for sanctions under the United Nations UNSCR 1267 of 1999, and announce the folding of Al-Haramain in Riyadh into a new National Commission for Relief and Charity Work Abroad.
He made the following statement:
Just over a year ago, I stood at this podium to talk to you about the horrific Al-Qaeda attacks in Riyadh. While the threat of terrorism was not new to Saudi Arabia, for us, May 12, 2003 was a turning point. From that day forward, Saudi Arabia and its people have been galvanized in the fight against terrorism as never before. As we have seen from the attacks in Al-Khobar this past weekend, Al-Qaeda is trying to destabilize our economy and our government. But their barbaric actions grow more desperate while the resolve of our people to uproot them grows stronger. We have no doubt that we will, God willing, prevail.
We are fighting this war on three fronts. First, we are going after the terrorists. We are pursuing them relentlessly. Over the past year, we have captured or killed many of their leaders, seized their weapons, and uncovered their arms caches. Hundreds of their members are in custody. Our leaders have vowed to pursue them until we rid our nation of these deviant individuals, regardless of how long it takes. Our security forces continue to do heroic work, and many have given their lives to protect the innocent. And for that they have our eternal gratitude.
Second, we are going after the mind-set that foments and justifies acts of terror. Our religious scholars continue to speak out forcefully about the true nature of our faith, which is one of peace and tolerance, not hatred and violence. We are revitalizing our educational system and are training imams at our mosques to ensure there is no room for incitement and intolerance.
Third, we are working to identify and shut down the financial sources that support terrorism. We have audited our charities and reorganized charitable work abroad to ensure that funds reach their intended recipients. We have established a new entity through which all private relief work abroad will be channeled. All existing entities and committees that used to operate abroad, including Al-Haramain, will be dissolved or will have their international operations and assets folded into the Saudi National Commission for Charitable Work Abroad. This new entity will be subject to strict financial legal oversight, and will operate according to clear policies to ensure that charitable funds intended to help the needy are not misused.
Charitable giving is a requirement of our faith. It defines who we are as Muslims. We are proud of the generosity and charity of our people. Through their donations over the years, millions of hungry people have been fed, tens of thousands of orphans provided for, thousands of wells drilled in arid parts of the world, shelters built for refugees in many parts of the world plagued by wars, and projects developed in areas to help alleviate poverty. Generous support for others in need is noble. But to guard against people taking advantage of our generosity, we have to ensure that the mechanisms for charitable work cannot be manipulated or misdirected by anyone.
Saudi Arabia has examined this issue very seriously and we have taken bold and decisive action.
These actions are part of a comprehensive and ongoing program. Recently, the Financial Action Task Force of the G-8 reviewed our systems and procedures in the financial area and their findings attest to the seriousness and effectiveness of the measures put in place by Saudi Arabia. Few countries have accomplished as much in this area as Saudi Arabia. Today, Saudi Arabia and the United States are taking joint action by designating five entities under UN Security Council Resolution 1267.
A year ago, at this podium, I said, “Don’t just listen to our words; watch our actions.” I believe any fair-minded observer will see that the actions Saudi Arabia has taken over the past year have been comprehensive, bold and decisive. And they have been effective. And God willing, they will help rid our world of the scourge of terrorism.