Friday 17 October 2008 (18 Shawwal 1429) Imams fail in their desired role: Naif Arab News Prince Naif MAKKAH: Imams of Saudi mosques have failed in guiding young Saudis away from extremist ideologies that pose a serious threat to the security and stability of the country, according to Interior Minister Prince Naif. "The more than 15,000 mosques in the country constitute the best forums for guidance, but the imams have failed miserably in discharging their duties," Prince Naif said after opening a seminar on Human Rights in Higher Education and Intellectual Security at Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah on Wednesday night. "Frankly speaking, I would like to say that the imams of mosques, with the exception of the two holy mosques, have not played their desired role (in the fight against extremism)," Prince Naif said. "The introduction of topics related to human rights in the education or any other area of life does not mean that our society is ignorant or deficient in human values as some quarters have been portraying," Prince Naif told an audience that included Minister of Higher Education Khaled Al-Anqari and Rector of Umm Al-Qura University Adanan Wazzan. The prince stressed the significant role universities had to play in keeping the young Saudis away from the dangers of destructive ideologies. "Since universities are centers of research, it is their duty to study ways to root out ideas that distort religion and defame the nation," he said. The interior minister urged intellectuals in Saudi universities to shoulder their responsibility in keeping society free of extremist ideologies. "Intellectual security is by no means less important than public security," he said. He pointed out that the security of a country was closely related with scientific achievements. "Universities should be capable of contributing to the service of the country and it is in line with the teaching of Islam which urges its followers to benefit from fruits of learning," he said. Prince Naif said by following the true path of Islam the Muslims would be able to achieve security and stability everywhere. He said the late King Abdul Aziz, founder of the Kingdom, had striven to introduce modern sciences into the country and to convince the people of their importance. "After the unification of the country, King Abdul Aziz's concerns were about the people's education and their security, and his sons followed the footsteps of their great father in this respect," he said. While speaking with the faculty members of the university, the prince expressed his hope that no harm would come to the country, which was always defended well. The interior minister commended the achievements of the soldiers and other security organs in the past in foiling the destructive designs of terrorists. "We have proved to the world that the Saudi security forces are capable of confronting the challenges of the deviant ideology though the country was the main target of extremist plots," Prince Naif said. While commending the strong cooperation between citizens and the security forces, the prince stressed the role of the citizens as the first line of the defense of the country against all kinds of enemies.