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Opinion: No excuses after King Abdullah’s speech | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A police officer is silhouetted as he stands guard on a bridge overlooking the site of a parade commemorating the second anniversary of the uprising against Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa February 11, 2013. (REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Saudi monarch King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud issued an important speech to the Arab and Islamic world during the Eid Al-Fitr celebrations. In this statement, King Abdullah summed up the position of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia towards the bloody events that are taking place in our region, including the Israeli aggression towards Gaza.

This was a historic speech from the Saudi King, in which he described the events taking place in the region as “fitna” [sedition]. This speech provided huge moral support for every rational voice in the region, particularly as these voices are under pressure not to tell the truth regarding what is happening. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz explicitly expressed his condemnation, and that of Saudi Arabia, of the various forms of terrorism and fitna in the region. The Saudi King explicitly stated that “terrorism has many manifestations, the most dangerous being state terrorism.” The Saudi monarch also urged “Muslim leaders and scholars of the Islamic nation to carry out their duty towards Allah Almighty and stand in the face of those trying to hijack Islam and [present] it to the world as a religion of extremism, hatred and terrorism.”

This was a very important speech. It represents a morale-boost to all the rational voices in our region, particularly as we are seeing various pretexts being put forward in our region to justify the killing. In fact, some of the perpetrators of this killing and violence do not even bother to justify these crimes themselves as there are others who are prepared to do this on their behalf, whether for sectarian, partisan or political reasons.

The same is happening in Gaza, where some in the West are trying to find security reasons to justify the Israeli crimes. There is also an entire mechanism that has been set up in our region to justify Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad’s crimes, as well as the crimes being committed by Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and Iraqi Shi’ite militias. The same goes for the absurd political situation that is playing itself out in Iraq, not to mention the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempts to inflame the situation in Egypt.

This is why King Abdullah took the initiative to issue this historic speech to make an important religious and political stand, calling on the rational voices in our region to speak out without fear or equivocation.

On the same day as this historic statement, King Abdullah issued another important speech addressing Saudi sheikhs and scholars, in which he stated that his words “expressed what every Muslim, male or female, all over the world feels.” The Saudi monarch asked frankly: “How can humans kill each other like sheep?”

He concluded his speech to Saudi Arabia’s sheikhs and scholars by calling on them to stop entertaining “laziness” and “silence.”

King Abdullah’s speech represents an important stand for every rational voice that is confronting this wave of terrorism, incitement and takfirism that the region is witnessing. Therefore, there is no excuse for those who remain silent or reluctant to condemn these crimes, whether we are talking about states, organizations, religious figures or intellectuals.