Wednesday 18 March 2009 (22 Rabi` al-Awwal 1430) Islam is for progress, says Prince Khaled Sultan Al-Tamimi I Arab News CALL FOR REFORM: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal delivers a lecture on moderate thinking at King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah on Tuesday. (AN photo by Marwan Al-Johani) JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal yesterday denounced propaganda by certain westernized Muslims that Islam and Islamic values are the reason for the backwardness of the community. "Islam, on the contrary, is a religion of progress, civilization, justice, equality and freedom," the governor told students and faculty members of King Abdulaziz University while giving a lecture on Saudi moderation. "A Saudi youth nowadays finds himself caught between two forms of extremism - each ideology tries to take him to its side leaving him confused and in need of knowing who he is and what his culture stands for," he said. "Moderation is the way of life of a progressive Arab Muslim. Society in this country firmly and confidently says 'no' to extremism and westernization and 'yes' to moderation in thinking, politics, economics and culture," he said. Prince Khaled also announced a plan to establish an academic chair - entitled Al-Faisal Chair for Deepening Saudi Moderation - at the university. The governor's lecture was followed by a question and answer session. "We are in a quick information age; information is now vast, fast and accessible to anyone ... the world now seems small in this era of information," he said. The lecture was part of a series of meetings and discussions that Prince Khaled has been holding on a regular basis since the start of the year. He explained how Saudi moderation overcame and defeated extremist ideologies since the time of King Abdul Aziz, the founder of Saudi Arabia. Prince Khaled has broached the idea of establishing a cultural council in Makkah province to serve as one of various development mechanisms, particularly to promote moderate thinking. Prince Khaled dwelt on the basic principles that mould the character of the people of Saudi Arabia. These principles, he said, did not come from the Kingdom's oil wealth but from Islam. He said one of the most important aspects of reformation programs in the region was to not just build on the character of individuals but society as a whole.