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Saudi Arabia...Allow Them to Enter the Room - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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As soon as I greeted Prince Mohammed Bin Naif, who in his humility and his determination to root out the corrupt group [Al Qaeda] seemed the same as the last time that I met him, a security officer came towards me and said “I want to show you something.”

Accompanied by others, I visited the room where the attempted assassination on the Assistant Minister of the Interior took place. It was a frightening sight, with blood splattered in almost every corner, and a hole in the roof caused by the terrorist’s flying body-parts. There was an image that I will never forget, for despite the fact that the terrorist was on the left of Prince Mohammed, the area where Prince Mohammed was standing was not stained with any blood. Glory to the protection of God!

In that place, with the horrifying scene, and the smell of blood and treachery in the air, I wished that the Saudi public could see what I saw with my own eyes. This was a Prince, surrounded by his own men and members of his security detail and all their equipment, who decided to meet an Al Qaeda member and offer him protection and amnesty. This [offer] was a great thing, both religiously and secularly, but one that was met with betrayal. Only after seeing this will the public understand the danger of what happened, its serious implications, and the necessity of addressing this, not just on a national level, but from outside of the house as well.

How I hope that the site of this incident can be recorded and broadcast on television screens for the Saudi public to see, even though it was a stage for fingerprint experts and others when I saw it. This will enable the people to see how God took mercy on the Prince, as well as to see how far the hand of treachery has stretched and become a threat that must be pulled out by the roots.

Today in Saudi Arabia there is a debate taking place which is as large as the shock [from the assassination attempt], a debate that is overwhelmed by questions, but no answers. This is good, for questions are sometimes the best remedy for the shocked, and the Saudi Arabians have experienced a great shock. How could they not? Especially as Prince Mohammed Bin Naif is known as a man who does not seek to attain personal glory or fame, but does his work away from the spotlight. He is a man who believes in the State, and its values. The Prince once told me “You, people of politics, argue however you like. As for me, I am convinced that Saudi Arabia possesses a message of tolerance, and is a friend to every Muslim in any place on earth.”

Therefore, we must prepare citizens today to ask such questions, such as; why does the ruler develop his system of government, from district and Shura councils, to the Allegiance Commission, especially when this a very sensitive issue to the ruling house?

Why does the King initiate major changes in vital areas which affect people’s lives and the country, from changes in the judiciary to changes in other ministries?

Why, when the King implements these changes, do those who refuse to accept the development of the education system, the curriculum, and the refinement of religious discourse from impurities, appear [and attack this]?

What I mean by refining religious discourse is not the exclusion of religion from people’s lives, for this is impossible and absurd, but the exclusion of militant discourse that appears, on one occasion in the name of moderation, and on another in the name of the establishment, in order to forbid everything, and takfir [apostate] anybody who seeks development.

Why do the Mohtaseboon and those who trust in them, not pursue terrorists as part of their job, in the same manner that they pursue youth for mundane reasons or for defects in their value system that should rather be dealt with by the family and the school?

These are questions that deserve to be raised…sit down and discuss them!

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed

Tariq Alhomayed is the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat. Mr. Alhomyed has been a guest analyst and commentator on numerous news and current affair programs, and during his distinguished career has held numerous positions at Asharq Al-Awsat, amongst other newspapers. Notably, he was the first journalist to interview Osama Bin Ladin's mother. Mr. Alhomayed holds a bachelor's degree in media studies from King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah. He is based in London.

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