It was with deep sadness and grief that the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah announced Saturday the demise of his brother and right hand Crown Prince Naïf, Deputy Premier and Minister of Interior at the age of 78.
Prince Naïf, who was the Kingdom’s Interior Minister since 1975, was appointed Crown Prince and Deputy Premier on 27 October 2011.
As Minister of Interior, the Prince was noted for his commendable fight against terrorism, which resulted in stamping out the extremist menace from Saudi Arabia for good.
Born in 1934 in Taif, the Prince received his early education in religion, modern culture and diplomacy at the royal court. He also benefited from the vision of his father who was known for his political acumen and unparalleled statesmanship.
At the age of 17, he was appointed as Deputy Governor of Riyadh and promoted as Governor in 1953.
King Faisal appointed him as Deputy Minister of Interior in 1970 and after five years King Khaled named him Interior Minister. King Abdullah appointed him Second Deputy Prime Minister in 2009.
During his early years in government, Prince Naïf contributed greatly to the Kingdom’s development, helping to formulate the Kingdom’s domestic and foreign policies.
In 1992, King Fahd appointed Prince Naïf as Head of a Committee to lay down the Basic Law of Government, the Shoura Council Law and the Provincial System.
He was also the Honorary President of the Arab Interior Ministers since 1983.
Under his leadership, the Arab Interior Ministers Council adopted security strategies and agreements, such as the Arab Security Strategy in Baghdad in 1984, the Arab Preemptive Security Plan in Tunisia in 1985, the Arab Convention on the Suppression of Terrorism signed by the Arab Ministers of Interior and Justice in 1998 and the Arab Strategy Draft Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
As Saudi Interior Minister, Prince Naïf paid special attention to counter extremist ideology and terrorism. He was convinced of the need to deal with the extremism at an intellectual plane. He established a special department, called the Intellectual Security Department, within the Ministry of Interior in 2007. His activities in this line included the establishment and funding of the Prince Naïf Chair for Intellectual Security at the King Saud University in 2008, funding the Prince Naïf Chair for National Unity Studies in Imam Muhammad Islamic University in 2009, supporting dozens of research studies on the phenomenon of extremism and its links.
Prince Naïf also set up a working group of university professors to develop strategic plans for the Arab Intellectual Security in 2010.
Prince Naïf served as the Chairman of strategic bodies and committees such as the Supreme Haj Committee, the Supreme Civil Defense Council, the Council of Governors, the Board of Directors of the Naïf Arab University for Security Sciences, the Supreme Industrial Security Commission, the Supreme Information Council, supervisor of the Authority of Investigation and Public Prosecution, the Manpower Council, the Board of the Human Resources Development Fund and the Supreme Commission for Tourism.
The Prince was also well known for his charity activities both inside and outside the Kingdom. He was the General Supervisor for Relief and Humanitarian Committees and Campaigns in Saudi Arabia, Honorary President of the Saudi Charitable Society for the Welfare of Saudi Families Abroad and Chairman of the Board of the Human Resources Development Fund.
He supported relief efforts for the Afghan people, relief works in Kosovo and Chechnya, assistance to those affected by the tsunami in Indonesia and victims of the Somali famine.
His outstanding administrative, social and charitable services had brought him recognition and admiration from different parts of the world.
The medals and decorations received by the prince included the Order of the Cloud and Banner of Taiwan (1977), the Legion of Honor by France (1977), the Order of the Liberator by Venezuela (1977), the Al-Kawkab Decoration by Jordan (1977), the Order of National Security by the Republic of South Korea (1980), and the National Order of the Cedar by Lebanon (2009).
He also was awarded the King Abdul-Aziz Medal of the First Class. He also received a number of honorary degrees including the Honorary Doctorate of Law from Cheng Shiu University in Taiwan, Honorary Doctorate of Law from South Korea, Honorary Doctorate of Political Science from the Lebanese University, Honorary Doctorate of Islamic Politics from Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, and an Honorary Doctorate from the National Ribat University in Sudan.
With the aim of promoting Islamic learning, the Prince instituted prizes such as the Naïf bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud International Prize for Sunna and Contemporary Islamic Studies and the Prince Naïf Competition for Memorization of Hadith.
The Prince’s hobbies included swimming, horse riding and hunting. He loved horses and bred Arabian horses at his own stables. He was also deeply interested in reading books on history, poetry and politics apart from the legal works.
Source: Arab News; Photo: Reuters