Arab leaders pay last respects to King Fahd

The Saudi princes and Muslim heads of state watched as the the body of the 84-year-old ruler, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, wrapped in his simple brown robe, was lowered into an unmarked plot in the barren al-Oud cemetery.

Among those paying tribute to the king, who had ruled since 1982, were the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad, Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak and Jordan's King Abdullah.

In Riyadh's packed Imam Turki bin Abdullah mosque, ordinary Saudis mixed with leaders from across the Islamic world, including Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf and Afghan-istan's Hamid Karzai. As a sign of the changing times in the region, an Iraqi delegation led by the Kurdish President Jalal Talabani and Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari was among the first to pay its respects.

Iraq's invasion of Kuwait under the leadership of Saddam Hussein had prompted King Fahd into one of the most difficult decisions of his reign: to allow US troops into the kingdom, seen as the cradle of Islam.

Non-Muslims were barred from the funeral ceremonies. Western heads of state and dignitaries, including Prince Charles and France's President Jacques Chirac, were expected to fly in for today's events. A US delegation, led by Vice-President Dick Cheney, will offer Washington's respects.

The brief afternoon ceremony was devoid of the pomp that would normally accompany a state funeral. The late king's body was brought into the mosque on a wooden plank carried by his sons, and placed in the middle of the mosque amid the crowd.

After the ceremony, the body was carried out and driven to its final resting place in an ambulance. In accordance with the kingdom's austere Wahhabist version of Islam, King Fahd was buried beside both his predecessors and commoners on a plain of shrubland with unmarked stones.

Unlike many Muslim states, Saudi Arabia has set no mourning period, in keeping with Wahhabi acceptance of God's will without question.

Saudi flags, emblazoned with the proclamation of faith, "There is no God but Allah", flew at full mast. Shops and businesses opened as usual in the capital, though the mood among ordinary Saudis was subdued.

Despite the pared-down ceremony, tight security was in evidence in a city still in a state of emergency in response to terror attacks. Roads leading to the mosque were closed. Inside, hundreds of security forces mixed with mourners, many drawn from the 10,000 Saudi princes, and snipers were posted around the cemetery in a sharp reminder that attacks by supporters of the al-Qa'ida leader and fellow-Saudi Osama bin Laden had clouded the king's final years.

King Fahd is succeeded by his half-brother Abdullah, who has been in de facto charge of the country since a series of debilitating strokes suffered by King Fahd in the mid-1990s.

Analysts expect the new king to maintain Saudi Arabia's commitment to stable oil markets and its close alliance with the West.

Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth gamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebookA powerful collection of reportage on Egypt’s cycle of awakening and relapse
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game