HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal is a member of the Royal Family of Saudi Arabia. Until 2001 he was the Director of the Saudi Arabia General Intelligence Directorate, and later served as Ambassador in London and Washington DC. He more recently established the King Faisal Foundation to promote education in Saudi Arabia, and is the Chairman of the King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies. This is a text of a speech which he gave at the Houses of Parliament at the invitation of Rehman Chishti MP on 16 September 2015. It is reproduced exclusively here by HRH Prince Turki’s kind permission.
A year ago, I began a personal campaign to refer to the atrocity that calls itself the “Islamic State,” (“Da’esh” in Arabic) by a name that exposes its true nature: Fahish, or “obscene.” However, commenting on the obscenities or atrocities of Da’esh, or Fahish, has almost become cliché: the world appears to have become desensitized to their bloodthirsty quest to rid Iraq and Syria of all who oppose their radical ideology. This desensitization to bloodshed has also come with desensitization to the power of words. Every barbaric act committed by these ideologues has been reported on, commented on, discussed as, and referred to with their own name for themselves: the “Islamic State.” While the world watches in silent protest, little moved by the images of women, children, families, towns and entire civilizations being destroyed before our very eyes; we in the Arab and Muslim world also watch in silent protest as extremists hijack not only our identity but our faith as Muslims – the very essence of Islam. We are witnessing barbarians attempting to hijack something so core and so relevant to the entire humanity – the very concept and nature of the State.