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Opinion: Mohammed Al-Faisal – Firm Opinions and Tolerant of Differences - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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My beloved brother Mohammed,
May peace, God’s mercy and blessings be upon you.
You have left us in this world to be, with God’s permission, with the prophets and your loved ones who have passed away. We rejoice because you have become closer to God and at the love that people have for you. We saw it in the crowds that came to pay their respects to you, in the elegies that people who loved you wrote and even in those written by those who were hostile towards us. Everyone expressed their affection, respect and admiration for you.

The first thing that I remember about you is the large size of your hands that carried me as a child when you played with me. Your tall stature impressed me and when I grew up I was still awestruck by you. You impressed me when you used a single shot rifle to shoot bustards and antelopes and I felt proud of your archery skills.

I used to watch you whilst you rode your horse and admired the way you tended to the horses. You inspired me when you graduated from university and was the first member of the House of Saud to do so. You impressed me when you got a job at the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) at a level that your degree accorded rather than seeking a higher position, despite your social standing. You worked your way up at SAMA until you moved to the Ministry of Agriculture. Your talk of desalinating seawater for drinking and generating electricity at the same time interested me greatly. The government adopted this process and the kingdom became the largest producer of desalinated water and electricity generated by sea water. In addition to this, water reached all parts of the country as a result.

After working for the government, you established Manarat schools for children and native and non-native speakers of Arabic. Then, despite opposition from businessmen and the authority, you began to lay the foundations for Islamic finance with a group of people who were interested in working with you.

Today, we even see banking institutions in non-Muslim countries establishing banking services that are based on Islamic principles. However, the best of your dreams was not realised; your idea to bring an iceberg from the South Pole to the kingdom so that it could be a reservoir of fresh water that provides water to cities on the Red Sea coast did not materialise. You bore the costs of the study into the project and held a global conference in collaboration with a global university in order to present information about it. I was amazed by the firmness of your views, your willingness to discuss matters with those who disagreed with you and your efforts to convince them through evidence.

The thing that I admired you the most for was your compassion that matched the size of your body. You often helped the needy and destitute.

God bless you, my brother Mohammed. You filled our lives with the greatness of your actions and people love you immensely.

Prince Turki Al-Faisal

Prince Turki Al-Faisal

HRH Prince Turki Al-Faisal is the co-founder of the King Faisal Foundation and Chairman of the Board of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies. He acted as Adviser to the Saudi Royal Court during 1972–1977, then heading the Kingdom’s intelligence service from 1977&38211;2002, after which he became Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to the United Kingdom until 2005, and Ambassador to the United States until 2007. He studied at Princeton, Cambridge, and Georgetown universities.

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