Saudi Ambassador to the United States Prince Turki Al-Faisal talked about the Saudi-US partnership and global challenges the two nations face in remarks at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government February 15.
Saudi Arabia and the US have had a long, successful partnership for more than 60 years, and it continues to strengthen as the two nations work together to meet global challenges, Prince Turki said.
Saudi Arabia and the US are working together to combat one of the most important challenges faced today: the global threat of terrorism, Prince Turki said, noting a joint Saudi-US task force to share information, resources and technology that is a model of international cooperation. The ambassador also pointed out that the Kingdom has enacted a three-pronged approach to combat terrorism by relentlessly pursuing the terrorists, cracking down on terrorist financing and changing the mindset that supports terrorism.
“Our message is clear: Intolerance, violence and extremism are not a part of our Islamic faith of Saudi culture and traditions,” he said.
In addition to terrorism, the international community must work together to create stability and foster peace in the Middle East. In particular, Prince Turki noted the need to find a comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and to bring stability to Iraq.
Prince Turki also dispelled several myths about Saudi Arabia that have become prevalent in the West in the last few years.
First, he dispelled the myth that Saudi Arabia exports a type of extremism known as Wahhabism. He noted that many in the West misunderstand what Wahhabism is, and pointed out that it does not advocate the killing of innocents or acts of suicide. The faith has been perverted by individuals like Osama bin Laden to justify their acts, similar to the way David Koresh or Jim Jones perverted Christianity.
He also debunked the myths that immediately after the September 11 attacks, flights with Saudis left the US while American airspace was still closed, and that the Saudi government funded acts of terrorism. In both cases, he referred to the 9/11 Commission report, which found both of these myths to be untrue.
Transcript of Prince Turki’s remarks