In response to my analysis yesterday of Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal's bluster in "A Saudi Prince's Threat to the Obama Administration," Joshua Teitelbaum of the Dayan Center and the Hoover Institution points out to me this passage from a talk that Turki delivered to the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on February 13, 2006 (with slight edits by me). Answering a question about religious liberty for non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia, Turki noted that Muslims
believe in all of the prophets, Muhammad being the last one. We revere from Adam to Noah to Abraham to Moses to David, Solomon, you name it, Jesus, Jonah, Jacob. All the prophets of the Old Testament and the New Testament, we consider them to be our prophet. And we also accept that the divine revelations to these prophets, the Torah and the Anjjil [New Testament] are our books, along with the Koran.
And our question to Christians and Jews is that why don't you reciprocate and believe in our prophet as we believe in your prophets? Why don't you accept our Koran as your book as we accept your Bible in its entirety, whether Old Testament or New Testament?
Very cute, your highness. This apparent symmetry actually means Christians and Jews converting to Islam. (Jan. 27, 2009)
Nov. 4, 2010 update: Teitelbaum provides more information about this prince:
One prominent member of the royal family, former head of intelligence and former ambassador to Washington Turki Al Faysal, did not seem particularly grateful for the security cooperation [with Washington]. He used a speech to the National Council on U.S.-Arab Relations to upbraid the administration for its support of Israel in less than graceful terms. Israel was a "drain on the United States, not as asset," he averred. "Within the makeup of this administration," Turki confided, "there are officials who rationalize, excuse, and condone Israeli intransigence." He railed against the idea of independence from foreign oil, calling it a "canard," and referred to supporters of Israel as "live human muppets...who are run by AIPAC."
The outspoken and foolish Saudi prince Turki al-Faisal.
June 10, 2011 update: More threats from the Turki, this time in the Washington Post:
American leaders have long called Israel an "indispensable" ally. They will soon learn that there are other players in the region — not least the Arab street — who are as, if not more, "indispensable." The game of favoritism toward Israel has not proven wise for Washington, and soon it will be shown to be an even greater folly.
Commentators have long speculated about the demise of Saudi Arabia as a regional powerhouse. They have been sorely disappointed. Similarly, history will prove wrong those who imagine that the future of Palestine will be determined by the United States and Israel. There will be disastrous consequences for U.S.-Saudi relations if the United States vetoes U.N. recognition of a Palestinian state. It would mark a nadir in the decades-long relationship as well as irrevocably damage the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and America's reputation among Arab nations. The ideological distance between the Muslim world and the West in general would widen — and opportunities for friendship and cooperation between the two could vanish.
July 17, 2011 update: Teitelbaum dismisses Turki's threat in an article, "Empty Words: Saudi Blustering and US-Saudi Realities."
As the British might say, Prince Turki al-Faisal, former Saudi Ambassador to Washington, has got his knickers in a twist. In June he published an op-ed in the Washington Post excoriating President Obama for his support of Israel and abandonment of the Palestinians in his May 19 speech (which many pro-Israel forces believed was anything but pro-Israel). But the Arabs also have a word for what Prince Turki and some other Saudi talking heads have been saying lately: kalam fadi—empty words.
Related Topics: Saudi Arabia
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