The Speech of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud at the Con-ference on International Trends between Freedom of Speech and Basic Principles of Shari’ah, Delivered on his behalf by HRH Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, Advisor to the Monarch and Governor of Holy Makkah Administrative Re-gion
Praise be to Allah and blessing be upon the Prophet of Allah.
Your Eminence- Your Excellen-cies
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmat-ullah Wa Barakatuh
I am extremely glad to convey to your gathering the best compli-ments of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin AbdulAziz Al-Saud, who hon-oured me to deliver on his behalf his speech at the inaugural cer-emony of your august Conference. I am also very happy at the outset to welcome the respectful guests and this vivid and remarkable pres-ence, which you have enriched distinguished erudite scholars as you have summoned one another to the various shady Makkah sub-divisions to discuss a grave matter in order to decide on it in a man-ner that preserves for the Nation its right guidance and awareness.
The concept of freedom of speech, which your Conference discusses its position between international tends and basic Shari’ah princi-ples, as you know by necessity, is a genuine branch of the (conditional) freedom in Islam. In fact, Allah, who has created people free, grant-ed them bounties and honoured them, says “We have honoured the sons of Adam; provided them with transport on land and sea; given them for sustenance things good and pure; and conferred on them special favours above a great part of our creation.” (Qur’an,17 :70)
Undoubtedly, it is part of man’s honour to be basically free in dis-cretion and selection. Moreover, our magnanimous Shari’ah stipu-lated the preservation of man’s blood, property, religion, intellect and honour as well as liberated him from any sort of worship ex-cept that of his Creator, provided that man abides himself by the controlling principles commanded to him by Allah Almighty in order to secure for man the improvement of his condition in this world and hereafter.
Distinguished participants at the ceremony!
Your Islamic Fiqh Council has done best at its Ninth Session that it held approximately before eight years and in which it underlined that the freedom of speech was a right that is well preserved in Islam accord-ing to the controlling principles of Shari’ah, of which the following are considered the most signiﬁcant:
• The end is the satisfaction of Al-lah Almighty and service of in-terests of Muslims.
• The expressed opinion should not include any insult for the re-ligion, its rituals, its tenets or its sanctuaries.
• The given speech must be ob-jective, fair, sincere, impartial, devoid of any inclination, pre-serving the interests and values of society and not violating the public order of the Nation or creating any disunity among Muslims.
• The means of expression should be legitimate, not insulting others and giving consideration to the base of balancing between interests and evils.
• The expressed opinion should be based on trustworthy sources and that promotion of rumours must be averted.
The said Council has issued four relevant recommendations that protect the above mentioned controlling principles. However, the recent period has witnessed a number of alarming competi-tive tendencies, interactions and confused voices over the freedom of speech, particularly at the open intellectual space, without any re-strictions. Despite the fact we be-lieve in the tolerance of Shari’ah and its preservation of rights and (legitimate) freedoms, it is essen-tial that we abide ourselves with the Shari’ah’ sagacious guidance in the confrontation of dangerous pre-cautions which replete this space so as to guarantee the safety of our the method of this Ummah (Islamic nation), which possesses religious, cultural and civilizational particu-larity that distinguishes it from other nations. Therefore, it is our right , - but our duty as well to take in account these characteristics and particularities in the standards that deﬁne human rights in the consti-tutions that govern other countries as well as secondary relevant rules and regulations that regulate and guarantee rights and freedoms as stipulated in the said instrument. This will help us take from them whatever suits this particularity and not to drifted to what contradicts our sublime Shari’ah.
Your Council is really success-ful as it recalled today to re-con-sider tackling anew the same theme in order to face the difﬁcult chal-lenges that we are currently living and witnessing and in which though plays a dangerous role (negatively and positively). In fact, the Nation is looking forward to you to devel-op/ outlay the diversiﬁed programs and strategies for read deeply the ideological scenes, carefully ex-amine their methodological pres-entations, adopting their positive aspects and employ technology of communication and information in serving our religion, development, countries and prosperity of our peoples. All this should be done in a manner that conforms to our Is-lamic particularity. Likewise, this Conference is sincerely hoped that it will contribute with distinctive illuminating aspects that pertain to its theme and dispel suspicions raised against our Islamic method which often arise from inadequate comprehension or erroneous per-ception for the realities of Islam or unbalance haste in visions and perceptions whether ignorantly or deliberately.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is keen to present an example that can be followed for the protection of rights and legitimate freedoms as well as for achieving prosperity and comprehensive development for society in a manner that conforms to the Islamic values, preserves so-cietal security and harmony among its members and enhances both holding to the religion as well as conﬁdence and concord among the citizen and the ofﬁcial.
We cherish the hope that those who are concerned with the Islamic affairs and those who are inﬂuen-tial at their respect communities will focus on projecting the merits that Islam presents in safeguarding man’s honour and its keenness in making man happy and in promot-ing good virtues he enjoys , direct man to the good, beneﬁt and posi-tive impact; and to introduce hu-man rights in their interrelated im-age, which is complete in terms of rights and controlling principles.
It is hoped that mass media, communication and publication means will be a benevolence tool for disseminating spiritual and hu-man values, feeling the responsibil-ity of saying a word, the danger of transmitting the materials and infor-mation that insult the set of values and instigate seditions (Fitnah).
Our laws , rules and regulations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are replete with such controlling prin-ciples. In fact, Article Thirty –Nine of the Basic Law of Governance (Constitution) stipulates that all mass media, communication, publi-cation and expression means shall abide by the usage of decent words, laws of the country ; and contribute to educating the Nation, support-ing its integrity as well as prevent-ing whatever leads to sedition or division, affecting the security of the state and its public relations or insulting man’s honour and rights.
Likewise, Article Eight of the Law on Publications and Publish-ing stipulates that “ freedom of ex-pression of opinion is guaranteed in the different publishing means within the framework of the Islam-ic and legal rulings”. Furthermore, the objectives of the electronic pub-lishing regulations comprise “the support of the culture of dialogue and diversity as well as consecra-tion of human rights culture, which is represented in the fact that free-dom of expression is guaranteed to all according to the provisions of the Law. To the above we add the spread of the culture of new media and its means in society, in addition to the preservation of the rights of individuals in creating and recording any sort of electronic publish-ing.”
We supplicate Allah to bless your efforts. Thank is extended to the Muslim World League, repre-sented in the Islamic Fiqh Council for organizing this Conference.
Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahma-tullah.