Much to appreciate this National Day

Saudi Arabia celebrates National Day this year with a new 21st century approach based on global understanding and interfaith dialogue and a mission to spread economic prosperity and peaceful coexistence worldwide.

As the people of the heartland of Islam and its two holy cities, we Saudis have a responsibility to stand against evil. Terrorists should not represent us, and the extremists should not deter us to work hand in hand with all the peaceful nations of the world to put an end to conflicts and wars. There are many proud citizens who support Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah’s initiatives to resolve issues of major concerns to humanity through peaceful negotiations and strong trade relations that contribute to global prosperity.

Saudi Arabia is witnessing a new era of social change and technological advancement. There is no room for the pessimists who undermine the hopes and aspirations of our talented young generation. There is no room for the skeptics who are unwilling to contribute to or support initiatives aimed at progress and development.

There is no room for hard-liners who refuse to modernize and wish to keep Saudi Arabia backward and isolated from the rest of the world. There is no room for extremists who jeopardize our security at home and tarnish our image and, in a larger sense, the image of Islam itself around the world.

We need to have more faith in progressive government initiatives and in the many talented and educated young Saudi men and women keen to help our nation modernize and develop. We must show more respect to social scientists advocating social change and a healthy lifestyle without compromising our Islamic values and traditions. We should salute the physicians involved in medical research to eradicate disease, the economists promoting international trade and industrial development, and we should encourage the funding of researchers who have joined the ranks of international experts to address global challenges from climate change and pollution to water scarcity and food security.

Today there is a sense of optimism and confidence in the leadership of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah. Many of us have gained faith in the active role of government departments, such as the Saudi National Society for Human Rights, which has issued bold, transparent reports exposing corruption, social injustice and inhumanity.

Many of us are optimistic about the emergence of a civil society determined to serve the community and advance the nation’s development. There are others proud of the active role of the youth who demonstrate both enthusiasm and responsibility during times of crises, such as the Jeddah flooding catastrophe.

Moreover, the professionalism that Saudi women have displayed in the work force and their contributions in the fields of science, business, banking, information technology and other fields once restricted to men have raised the hopes of the younger generation and boosted the morale of many women once abused and marginalized.

There is also a sense of satisfaction over the latest government initiatives that reflect a strong political will to resist the spread of the extremist ideology, such as the recent ban on aberrant fatwas. The Ministry of Justice is reforming our judiciary, sending judges and lawyers to train abroad to gain experience and allowing women lawyers to practice their profession in Saudi courts. Indeed, these initiatives have added a sense of confidence among citizens that our country is on the right path toward moderation and social change.

King Abdullah has successfully steered the country away from a path of darkness and ruin. With his enlightened vision and wisdom, he has stood against terror and fought the enemies of Islam who defile the faith and target the innocent and the most vulnerable. King Abdullah rejected the so-called “clash of civilizations” and spoke in the name of all moderate and peaceful Muslims around the globe. He projects the true image of Islam and offers his country’s contribution toward peace, justice and global security. Peaceful, moderate citizens of Saudi Arabia today support King Abdullah’s mission and continue to demonstrate their willingness to be the agents of peace and the engines for progress and development.

All these factors make this Saudi National Day a perfect time to take pride in our progress, our people and our leaders. We should all resolve to make our nation’s success a matter of personal responsibility. If we do, that future success is assured. – arabnews