Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz received guests of the National Guard in Riyadh today, including intellectuals, members of the literary establishment and the media who are in the Kingdom to attend the 21st annual National Culture and Heritage Festival.
In his welcome remarks, King Abdullah spoke out against extremism and called on intellectuals to help usher in a period of dialogue and respect for identity and religion among nations.
King Abdullah began his remarks by saying that intellectuals and thinkers have a special responsibility in charting a future for the Muslim nation, pointing out its problems and proposing solutions.
Arab and Muslim unity is the cornerstone of progress and glory, the King remarked, and history has shown that unity has brought golden periods of prosperity while periods of dissension have been marked by weakness and humiliation.
King Abdullah also spoke out against extremism. He said that today, as the Muslim nation is subject to an attack on the religion of Islam, it is up to the intellectuals and thinkers to highlight the nation’s true image of tolerance, justice and moderation. They should clarify to the world that the actions of a few fanatical extremists do not reflect the spirit of the Muslim nation, its heritage – only the destructive illusions of criminals.
The King condemned the idea of clashes between civilizations, and called for such clashes to be replaced by a constructive and peaceful coexistence between and civilizations. Arab intellectuals and thinkers would be the vanguard of a stage of real dialogue between nations, a stage in which each party respects the other, its religions and identities.