Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz received several Saudi princes and ministers, as well as senior officials and members of the public. He also met with Abdulaziz al Shanbari, the former dissident who returned to the Kingdom in December 2005, after breaking away from the movement for Islamic reform (harakat al islah) led by Saad al Faqih and based in London. The group has been widely accused of supporting al Qaeda and waging a media campaign against the Kingdom.
Al Shanbari gave a statement in which he paid tribute to King Abdullah and thanked him for allowing him to return to Saudi Arabia. He also expressed his heartfelt appreciation of the Saudi monarch.
Upon his return to Saudi Arabia, after a two-year exile, the former Saudi Arabian Airlines employee urged members of “Al Islah” which he belonged to “Be honest with themselves” and wished they would return “to the truth”. He acknowledged that his former views on Saudi Arabia were “misguided”.
In an interview with Asharq al Awsat in December, his brother Abdullah said, “ He regrets every minute spent outside the Kingdom working with the misleading movement which deceived some people through the distribution of incorrect information”.