FBI: Saudi student bought materials for bomb, considered Bush home as target

A 20-year-old Saudi student who was arrested in Lubbock, Tex., late Wednesday was close to constructing a bomb and had researched possible targets, including the Dallas home of former president George W. Bush and the residences of three Americans who served at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, authorities said.

The defendant came to the United States as a student in September 2008, but his plan all along was to kill Americans, according to journal entries cited in an FBI affidavit. As a Saudi who entered the United States legally on a student visa, he evoked memories of the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudis.

The Saudi student was arrested after he attempted to purchase over the Internet the chemical phenol, a key ingredient in the explosive trinitrophenol, or TNP, according to an FBI chemist cited in the affidavit.

Saudi king opens religious conference in Madrid

King Abdullah called on followers of the world’s prominent religions to turn away from extremism, and embrace reconciliation, at an inter-faith conference in Madrid this week. He said that conflicts of history were not caused by religion, but by the misinterpretation of religion. Conference co-host King Juan Carlos of Spain said that the country has always sought international and inter-faith dialogue. Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist theologians at the conference stressed a call for gender equality, citing a history of marginalization of women in religion. Critics of the conference, however, have dismissed the gathering citing it as a propaganda gimmick by the Saudis.

Saudis protest Dutch politician’s anti-Islam remarks

The Saudi ambassador to the Netherlands, Waleed al-Khareejy, has demanded that a Dutch anti-immigration politician apologise and retract his recent attack on Islam and the Koran. The demand, made informally, was immediately rejected by Geert Wilders, the leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV).