2006 News Story

Saudi Ambassador discusses need to promote understanding

  Prince Turki addresses Chicago Council on Foreign Relations

Saudi Ambassador to the US Prince Turki Al-Faisal discussed the need to promote understanding among cultures in remarks to the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations today.

Prince Turki addressed some of the misconceptions of Islam that complicate understanding. He stressed that Muslims are not all radicals and extremists, and that the majority of Muslims around the world simply want the same things as everyone else: security, opportunity, good health and education. 

“Those out there who use Islam to justify acts of violence and hatred are corrupting the healthy body that holds the world’s Muslim community together. It is a wicked perversion of our faith,” the ambassador said.

He also addressed the misconception that Wahhabism advocates extremism. The term in fact refers to the reformist views of 18th century Arabian scholar Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, which do not advocate the killing of innocents or condone acts of suicide.

“Extremists may claim their origins in Wahhabism, but their faith is perverted,” Prince Turki said. “Are the Saudi people conservative? Yes. Are we traditional? Yes. Are we extremists? Absolutely not.”

Prince Turki called for the world to promote understanding among cultures. He said that to do so, the Kingdom is working to educate Saudi society as a whole about the dangers of terrorism and extremism. It has revised its educational curriculums and eliminated objectionable material, monitored mosques and religions schools to ensure they don’t promote intolerance, and supported an honest dialogue about the problems faced by the Muslim world.

Transcript of Prince Turki's remarks