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a letter from the saudi ambassador to the u.s.

May 7, 1980

The Honorable Warren Christopher
Acting Secretary of State
Department of State
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Mr. Secretary:

My government has asked me to express concern to you about the showing of the television film, "Death of a Princess" on your country's Public Broadcasting System now scheduled for May 12.

We have recently received a recording of the film as shown in England and find it contains many inaccuracies, distortions, and falsehoods. The documentary style of the picture is so convincingly done that I fear the casual viewer could consider it a collection of factual and historical events when in reality it is just the opposite. The film shows a completely false picture of the life, religion, customs and traditions of Saudi Arabia. It also, in many ways, is disparaging to the Muslim religion. The film is therefore offensive, not only to Saudi Arabia but to the entire Islamic world.

We recognize your constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and expression, and it is not my purpose to suggest any infringements upon these rights. However, we feel that you and other responsible officials of your government would want to know of our concern and the reasons therefore before the film is shown in the United States.

Enclosed is material relating to the film which points out a number of inaccuracies and falsehoods in it. I would appreciate your considering these facts and, if you feel it appropriate, convey our concerns to the Public Broadcasting System. We trust that the Public Broadcasting System or other news media will determine for themselves what the fictitious items and distortions are and will not report them to the American public as fact.

A major concern to us has always been the lack of adequate understanding between our cultures and our people of each other's way of life, our religions, our customs, and our practices. We continue to feel that increasing understanding of these things can only benefit our nations and the world as a whole.

Yours very truly,

Sheikh Faisal Alhegelan

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posted april 19, 2005

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