King’s Academy, April 1, 2015 — In an address to the King’s Academy community on March 15, His Royal Highness Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud described the “so-called Islamic State” (IS) as the antithesis of the Islamic faith.
Speaking at school meeting in the Abdul Majeed Shoman Auditorium, HRH Prince Turki, who is a founder of the King Faisal Foundation and currently serves as chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, called IS a terrorist organization “that is neither Islamic nor a state.” He also called the organization fahesh (or “obscene”), saying that was a more suitable name “that refutes its lies and exposes its true nature.”
“The organization understands perfectly that names are the shorthand for ideas, and that ideas have tremendous power,” His Highness said. “Its evolving names for itself are commands for the attention of millions and the expressions of its desire for power.”
Over the last two years, fahesh (as he referred to the organization throughout his address) has gained notoriety for its atrocious acts against innocent civilians and journalists. That its vicious agenda of murder and destruction has been treacherously linked with Islam, a religion of peace and tolerance, “is an insult to the faith of the 1.6 billion Muslims that make up the world’s population, the vast majority of whom lead their lives as law-abiding citizens,” His Highness said.
Within the framework of mainstream media and its preconceptions about the organization’s goals and behavior, Islam has become “shorthand for reactionary backwardness” and Muslims are often depicted as “blood-thirsty or reactionary,” he added.
“Allowing this fundamentally godless, non-governmental organization the free publicity of its name crosses the line from ignorance to active harm.”
A true Muslim, His Highness explained, seeks guidance from the Holy Quran, and from the words and deeds of the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), a man who was known for his peacefulness, kindness and sound judgment.
“In practice, this translates into a religious life centered on devotion to God, respectful behavior to others, a peaceful well-run society and an emphasis on self-improvement,” His Highness said. “Peace is not the absence of violence but the active cultivation of social harmony.”
Fahesh and the media have also capitalized on the “glamor and vagueness” of the organization’s franchised terrorist movement – a so-called “caliphate” – and are the latest to abuse the term jihad (the Arabic term for “striving” or “struggle”), he added.
“All just causes have their battles but the most important type of jihad is and always has been the jihad of al nafs, the jihad of the self, the struggle to ascend above the lowest impulses and to do good,” His Highness said.
“No one has the right to judge others’ faith in this life,” he stated with conviction.
Students were given the chance to ask Prince Turki a variety of questions, which ranged from how international communities can help “cure the disease” of IS to whether Arab countries should join other nations in the fight against terrorism.
Prince Turki was later joined by students of AP Modern European History and United States History for a private reception in Beit al Mudeer, where they asked further questions and engaged in an in-depth discussion of the topic.