Assassination of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia Part 1

About the assassination of King Faisal of Saudi Arabia, history and account of the murder of the mid east King.


The Victim: KING FAISAL OF SAUDI ARABIA (Faisal Ibn Abdul-Aziz al Saud).

The Date: Mar. 25, 1975.

The Event: The 69-year-old absolute monarch, a gnarled old veteran of the desert wars between 1902 and 1932 that brought an oil-rich kingdom into being, was celebrating the 1,405th birthday of the Prophet Mohammed by holding a 9:50 A.M. reception for a visiting delegation from Kuwait inside his splendid palace in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.

A 27-year-old Arabian prince, whose Western-style long hair was hidden beneath a flowing headdress and traditional white robe, joined the Kuwaitis in a reception line. His uncle recognized him and lowered his imperial head so that the nephew might, according to custom, kiss the tip of the ruler's nose. Instead, the young man reached under his cloak, pulled out a pistol, and shot King Faisal three times in the face. The first shot went through the brain and killed him instantly. The assassin, who shouted, "Now my brother is avenged!" was subdued by palace guards. He was held for "investigation" until late in June and then found guilty of the murder by an Islamic religious court which sentenced him to death. Within hours, he was led into a public square in front of the Great Mosque of Riyadh, forced onto his knees in the dirty sand, prodded upright with a sharp stick, and then decapitated with one stroke of an enormous, golden-hilted sword. His head was displayed on a sharpened stake before he was buried in the nearby wastelands.

The Assassin: Prince Faisal (Faisal Ibn Musad Abdel Azia), was the son of Prince Musad, an exiled brother of King Faisal. The prince's brother had been killed by the king's police several years before while participating in an armed attack on a new television station which was about to broadcast the human image. This was a severe blasphemy according to the strict interpretation of the Koran accepted by the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect of which Saudi royalty have long been members.

Had King Faisal's assassination proved to be no more than an act of vengeance within the royal family, the young man would probably not have been killed. He would have been conveniently judged insane and locked away for life. No member of the royal family had ever before been executed. But investigators soon learned that politics were involved, so the Koran's injunction "A soul for a soul" was quickly invoked. After all, the leader of this sandy medieval kingdom guards Mecca and is the chief defender of Islam; therefore, an attack upon his primacy is also regarded as an attack upon the faith.

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