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Statement

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to combatting terrorism and radicalisation is all too often unacknowledged or understated. Saudi Arabia does not fund, support or excuse any radical institution in Belgium, Europe or anywhere. In fact, the Kingdom is recognised as a pioneer in addressing the problem of radicalisation and terrorism at its root.

Falsehoods linking Saudi Arabia and its values to extremism cannot be allowed to circulate unchallenged. Extremist thought and acts of senseless violence are diametrically opposed to what the Kingdom stands for. To tar Saudi Arabia with the same brush as Da’esh/ISIS  is lax.

In reality, condemnation of terrorism permeates all levels of Saudi society from King Salman bin Abdulaziz to the Saudi citizen, and it is clear to see why. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace and home of Islam; the Kingdom’s culture, society and justice are closely tied to Islamic values of peace and tolerance. To commit a terrorist act is therefore deeply un-Islamic and, by extension, profoundly un-Saudi.

“The biggest challenge facing our Islamic nation is how to keep our youth, the real wealth and hope of the future, away from the dangers facing them – particularly extremism and violence – and distance them from masterminds of misleading ideas that force them to behave in extraordinary ways that contradict the principles of our Islamic religion and the pillars and values of our Islamic societies.”

King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, July 2016

This logic is reinforced by the ‘Majlis Hay’at Kibar al-‘Ulama’ – The Council of Senior Scholars. The Council is the Kingdom’s highest religious body, which finds consensus between learned religious scholars from a broad spectrum of Sunni Muslim schools of thought. The Council advises the King on religious matters through its ‘fatwas’ or decisions, which are well respected, not only in the Kingdom, but by Muslims around the world. Condemnation of terrorism from the Council has been unwavering, issuing its first fatwa on the subject in 1988.

The Council has consistently made clear that acts of terrorism cannot be considered in any way Islamic, nor their perpetrators Muslim. In 2010, the Council defined terrorism as any “crime seeking to corrupt and destabilise the security of life and property, private and public, such as destroying housing, schools, hospitals, factories, bridges, blowing up or hijacking airplanes, or the usurpation of the public resources of the state such as oil and gas reserves and all such acts of corruption and vandalism are prohibited in Islam. Whosoever alleges that it is jihad is ignorant and misguided. It is in no way jihad for the sake of Allah.”

More recently, the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars in June 2016 stated that “Islam outlaws terrorism and considers it as a corruption in the land, which ultimately serves only the people with racist believes that spread hatred and push for more division, which does not serve to build a world of order and a recognition of rights.”

In September 2014 the Council pronounced that “Terrorism is a heinous crime perpetrating injustice and aggression and is rejected by the Shariah, sound disposition and common sense in all its forms.” It is important also to underline the universality of the Council’s decisions regarding terrorism. Fatwas unfailingly call on the whole world to stand against it, and the Senior Scholars respond to heinous acts wherever they are committed.

Following the horrific terroristic attacks in Paris in 2015, it was reiterated that “Islam bans this terrorist action and does not accept any justification for it.” In the wake of the further lamentable attacks in Brussels in March 2016, the Council of Senior Scholars “affirmed that the whole world should unify to fight terrorism whatever its source is and regardless of the targeted region, and that the criminalisation of terrorism should not be justified in a region unlike the other, this will be a mean of intensifying terrorism and expanding it”.

Months later, when the scourge of terrorism re-emerged in Nice, France, the Council stated that “Islam magnifies the sanctity of human blood and criminalizes terrorism that kills and terrorizes innocent people in their homes, markets and facilities teeming with men, women and children, and that all humanity rejects and condemns it”.

The Kingdom’s rejection of all forms of terrorism is not merely empty words but also reflected in its actions. Most notable among these is Saudi Arabia leadership in the Islamic Alliance against Terrorism. On the occasion of the Alliance’s announcement, the Council declared that “fighting and combating terrorism are one of the most important duties imposed by the Islamic religion, which is a duty at a time where the Islamic world has to be urged to fight and cooperate against it.” In an age where wilful disinformation is become increasingly prevalent in our societies, it is of paramount that we strive more than ever to read beyond the sensationalist headlines, scratch beneath the surface of unfounded allegations, and examine the facts more rigorously.

Those trying to link ISIS to Islam, Sunnis or so-called Wahhabis or to the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, are mistaken. ISIS and what they’re doing is not Islam. Islam does not justify the killing of innocent people. Islam does not justify violence and does not justify hate. Islam is a religion of moderation, tolerance, love and mercy. What these criminals are doing has nothing to do with Islam.

Our Kingdom will continue to support national and international authorities to help eradicate the terrorist scourge and its supporters from our societies.

Ambassador Abdulrahman S. Alahmed

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Belgium & Luxembourg
Head of the Saudi Mission to the European Union

“We remain firmly united in our outrage at Daesh’s atrocities and in our determination to eliminate this global threat and overcome its false, destructive narrative. We reiterate our commitment to an integrated, multidimensional, and comprehensive approach to defeat Daesh and its global networks, fully recognizing this will require sustained, focused efforts.”

Ministers of the Global Coalition against Da’esh, 22 March 2017

Europe has once more been struck by the scourge of terrorism. We mourn several innocent lives needlessly taken in London, and wish a full recovery to those injured. This mindless barbarism bears no resemblance to the Islam that we follow and preach, and is an affront to the peaceful religion that Da’esh and other such groups claim to represent.

It is apt now, not to submit to the terror Da’esh wishes to propagate, but rather to stand united in the face of this threat. The international community must continue to cooperate to eliminate the untiring menace of violent extremism. The simple fact is that we are more effective when we work together to counter the multiple threats we face.

Indeed, only yesterday, Foreign Ministers from the 68 countries of the Global Coalition against Da’esh met in Washington and recommitted to intensifying and accelerating their efforts to eliminate these terrorists. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is at the core of this coalition, which reflects the international community’s will to put an end to the senseless destruction and extremism Da’esh stands for.

Abdulrahman S. Alahmed
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Head of the Saudi Mission to the European Union

 

The full Statement by Ministers of the Global Coalition can be read here.

JANUARY

 

KSA Mission Newsletter January 2017

The first issue of 2017 looks into Saudi Arabia’s strong record on counter-terrorism, the Kingdom’s provision of humanitarian aid and relief to Syrians in need and foreign policy priorities, as well as giving an update on the progress made in the Vision 2030 economic roadmap for the Kingdom. The issue examines how the Riyadh metro project is set to reshape the Saudi capital, and profiles the women making their mark in a new role in the Kingdom’s airports.

Speaking on the occasion of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s 86th national day, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz said, “It is an anniversary in which everybody recalls the pioneering role of the late founder of this great entity in which we witness the fruit of his blessed efforts in present reality in security, stability, and development of a homeland which occupies the centre of this world and affects its security and stability by virtue of its strategic location, spiritual weight and economic status, which enabled it to be one of the strongest economies in the world, a member of the Group of twenty with its strong influence in the world economy, determining its tracks and contributing to the solution of its problems.”

Looking towards a bright future, the Deputy Crown Prince said that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 economic roadmap “ushered in a new stage of development and hard work,” which would facilitate “the continuation of proceeding along with the developed countries and the achievement of the desired growth, while adhering to the fundamentals of our tolerant religion and noble values.”

He also addressed the scourge of terrorism, which threatens the security of the Kingdom, noting that Saudi “security agencies are working with the support, care and directives of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques to maintain what has been achieved of unique security and stability compared to any other country in the world. Saudi security services have successfully managed to achieve remarkable success domestically and internationally in confronting the phenomenon of terrorism that has swept the world and thus, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has presented a Saudi security experience which has been appreciated and admired by everyone and has become a source of benefit for many countries in fighting terrorism and drying up its intellectual and financial sources.”

In Brussels, Ambassador Abdulrahman S. Alahmed, Head of the Mission to the European Union and Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg welcomed revered guests to celebrate the anniversary of the nation’s foundation. A short video on the event in Arabic can be viewed below.

  • September 26, 2016

Addressing the 71st session of the General Assembly of the United Nations, Crown Prince Mohammad bin Naif, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, told today that defeating terrorism is a priority for Saudi Arabia, which “has been among the primary victims of terrorism” going back many years.

Prince Mohammad said that the Kingdom has been the target of more than 100 terrorist operations since 1992, “including 18 carried out by elements with links to ‘a regional country.’”

The Crown Prince said that the Kingdom has “exerted strenuous efforts…to bring about peace and lay the foundations for security and stability since joining the organization, not just in our region, but also all over the world.”

“Saudi security apparatuses have also managed to detect 268 terrorist operations and thwarted them before they took place,” he said.

Prince Mohammad cited specifically the laws, regulations and other measures the Kingdom has enacted to criminalize the support and financing of acts of terrorism and “signed on to more than 12 international [counter terrorism] agreements.”

Prince Mohammad highlighted the Kingdom’s role in the formation of the multi-country Islamic Military Alliance to combat terrorism as well as the agreement Saudi Arabia signed with the U.S. to launch the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center and the Kingdom’s pledge of $110 million to the center to help build its capabilities and effectiveness in helping countries combat terrorism.

Prince Mohammad also called for an end of Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, condemning Israel’s “acts of aggression.”

The Crown Prince told the General Assembly that the Kingdom fully supports reaching a political solution in Yemen.

Prince Mohammad called for an end to the fighting in Syria and renewed efforts to find a political solution to the crisis according to the decisions of Geneva 1. Saudi Arabia has provided shelter for hundreds of thousands of Syrian people since the beginning of the crisis, including free health care, and access to the labor market and education.

Turning to Iran, Prince Mohammad said Saudi Arabia called on Iran to “build relations with its neighbors on the basis of the principles of good neighborliness and non-interference in the internal affairs of other states.”

  • September 22, 2016

The 25th session of the Joint Council and Ministerial Meeting of the European Union (EU) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) took place yesterday evening in Brussels. Following the fruitful exchange between the ministers, Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Adel Al-Jubeir and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini expressed “a firm determination to expand and strengthen bilateral political, economic, cultural and social cooperation and relations” between the two blocs at a joint press conference.

In a statement published by the EU-GCC co-chairs, both parties agreed that cooperation serves as ”a solid and effective foundation for sustainable regional and international stability and security,” and pledged to “further enhance their political dialogue and cooperation.”

On the conflict in Yemen, all parties welcomed the resumption of the UN-mediated Yemen peace talks in Kuwait on 16 July and reiterated their support to the UN Special Envoy for Yemen in facilitating a comprehensive and lasting settlement between Yemeni parties to restore peace and resume the transition in Yemen.

Federica Mogherini stressed the need “to work together to help the parties find common ground. There one area where convergence was complete between us and among the respective parties. We agreed there is only a political solution to the conflicts in Yemen and we’re trying to join forces to facilitate this process.” Mirroring these sentiments, Mr, Al-Jubeir added that “a political settlement in Yemen has to be based on three basic principles: the GCC initiative, the outcome of the Yemeni national dialogue and the UN Security Council resolution 2216.”

Al-Jubeir, speaking as the head of the rotating GCC presidency, said Saudi Arabia and its partners are working “to encourage the parties [in Yemen] to sign agreements and implement measures so that we can move Yemen from a state of war to a state of development, reconstruction and prosperity.”

During the meeting, ministers also reaffirmed their determination to counter terrorism and terrorism financing, and to defeat Da’esh and other terrorist organizations. They stressed the need to reach a solution to the Syrian crisis. They called for immediate country-wide humanitarian access allowing the delivery of aid to all besieged areas, emphasizing the importance of full and strict adherence to the cessation of hostilities arrangements.

EU and GCC Ministers also reviewed progress in the EU-GCC strategic relationship and “expressed their willingness to address together common political, social, economic, and security challenges, as well as macroeconomic stability and support for diversification strategies,” such as Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Plan, Vision 2030, noting that two-way trade between the blocs represented more than €155 billion in 2015, an increase of 55% since 2010.

 

WASHINGTON [July 15, 2016] – Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia welcomed the release of the 28 pages redacted from the Congressional Joint Inquiry into 9/11, and reiterated the Kingdom’s commitment to crushing terrorism at home and abroad.

“Since the tragic events of 9/11, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has embarked on a series of major steps in confronting terrorism,” Minister Al-Jubeir said at a press conference at the Saudi Embassy in Washington following Friday’s release of the 28 pages.

“We have put in place financial control mechanisms that are unprecedented for any other country. We have shut down institutions that use fundraising in order to support extremist causes and terrorism. We have put in place laws to criminalize terror financing. We have detained a large number of people. We have prosecuted a large number of people. We have jailed a large number of people. We have put in place better systems in terms of looking at cash couriers,” said Minister Al-Jubeir. “Saudi Arabia is in the forefront of countries when it comes to fighting terrorism.”

The Foreign Minister said that redacted pages exonerate the Saudi government from involvement in the events of 9/11, as the 28 pages were reviewed by U.S. intelligence agencies who said there is no involvement of the Saudi government or Saudi officials in the events of 9/11.

“We hope with the release of these pages, the aspersions that have been cast against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia over the past 14 years will come to an end. And we hope that we can focus on moving forward in a cooperative way in order to go after the men, the money and the mindset that represents a threat to your people and ours.”

Minister Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia is a victim of terrorism, and works with its allies in going after terrorists and their supporters.

“Terrorism has no religion, it has no nationality, it has no ethnicity, it has no humanity. It is incumbent upon all of us to do everything in our power to defeat it,” said Minister Al-Jubeir.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is determined to go after the terrorists, those who finance them, and those who justify their actions.”

  • July 16, 2016

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz has recommitted the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to “strike with an iron fist” the terror groups that seek to recruit youths to “extremism and violence,” and pledged efforts to “distance them from masterminds of misleading ideas.”

 

In a message to the people of Saudi Arabia and all the world’s Muslims on the occasion of the Eid Al-Fitr, King Salman urged Muslims to unite and condemned terrorism and extremism, stressing their contradiction to Islam.

 

“The sedition witnessed in the Islamic world today requires all of us to exert the utmost effort to unify our voice, close ranks and work together to solve the problems of the Islamic nation, and achieve victory for its issues,” said King Salman. “However, the biggest challenge facing our Islamic nation is how to keep our youth, the real wealth and hope of the future, away from the dangers facing them – particularly extremism and violence – and distance them from masterminds of misleading ideas that force them to behave in extraordinary ways that contradict the principles of our Islamic religion and the pillars and values of our Islamic societies.”

 

Vow To Strike Terror Groups

 

King Salman vowed to spare no effort to crush extremists that use misleading messages to entice impressionable young people to join them. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is determined, God willing, to strike with an iron fist those who target the minds and attitudes of our youth,” he said.

In a briefing today on Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism efforts, the Ministry of Interior’s security spokesman, Major General Mansour Al-Turki said the Kingdom has been a major target of terrorist organizations, but is determined to defeat it and prevent terrorists from using any resources from Saudi Arabia.

 

“We have faced more than 63 terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda and ISIL, 26 of them just in the last two years,” said Gen. Al-Turki. “More than 200 citizens and policemen were killed in terrorist attacks. More than 2,800 suspects have been arrested since 2015.”

 

In order to crush terrorism and cut off terror financing, Gen. Al-Turki said the Kingdom has enforced laws to criminalize all terrorist-related activities, including joining, supporting, or recruiting for extremist groups. Saudi Arabia has taken major actions to prevent radicalization and recruiting, and has provided citizens with a phone number to report any suspected terror-related activities.

 

The Kingdom has established a money intelligence department to monitor and investigate any suspected financial transactions. Investigations are typically done in coordination with the Saudi Monetary Agency and the Saudi banks. The Intelligence Security Department within the Ministry of Interior coordinates investigations in order to monitor any abnormal transactions going through bank accounts, and will then freeze the account.

 

“This has led to convicting more than 226 persons of terrorism financing activities, prosecuting more than 240 suspects, freezing and investigating more than 117 suspected bank accounts, closing all unlicensed charity collection locations,” said Gen. Al-Turki.

 

“We have contributed to international community efforts to combat terrorism and its finance through exchanging information,” he said, and said that some of that information had played a major role in “saving lives in other countries.”

 

Gen. Al-Turki also noted that the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid is responsible for any external charitable contributions from Saudi Arabia or Saudi citizens.

 

Saudi Arabia co-chairs the Counter ISIL Finance Group, along with the U.S. and Italy.  The CIFG was established in 2015 to disrupt ISIL’s sources of revenue and its ability to move and use funds to wage its campaign of terror.