King: Zero tolerance for terror


Emphasizing the need to map out a strategic plan to combat terrorism, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman stated on Sunday that Saudi Arabia will not wait idly by while extremists tarnish the image of Islam.

“Saudi Arabia has left no stone unturned in the fight against terrorism,” King Salman said at the opening of an international conference on counterterrorism organized by the Muslim World League.

In his keynote speech, which was read out by Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, King Salman lauded Saudi security forces for their courageous efforts in fighting terrorism.

“At the national level, our security forces have confronted terrorists without showing any leniency and having even sacrificed their lives in that mission, while our air forces have joined the international coalition to combat terror,” the king said.

The king denounced terrorism and radicals, terming them as “threatening Muslims” who are tainting and vilifying the image of Islam among non-Muslims across the world.

He stated that Muslim countries are threatened by the infiltration of terrorists who kill, oppress and pillage in the name of Islam, “fueling the international opinion against Muslims,” King Salman pointed out.

According to the king, Muslims are now seen as “culprits and as a source of fear and concern,” with ties between Muslim countries and non-Muslim states shaken and weakened by terrorists.

“In addition to the catastrophic loss of people and infrastructure, and the shattering and division of nations, the greatest danger to our nations are these misguided and misled terrorists, who have given an opportunity to those waiting for a chance to hurt Islam and vilify its followers, estimated at more than 1.5 billion,” said King Salman.

Calling out for moderation and forgiveness, King Salman highlighted these traits as characteristic of Islam and reminded the audience of the Kingdom’s efforts to curb extremism. In recent years, Saudi Arabia has established centers and organized conferences to further dialogue, not only between Muslim groups, but also between Muslims and people of other faiths.

However, and despite the fact that these strategies have had a significant outcome in the region, King Salman pointed out that terrorism is still present in the Middle East, “especially in Arab and Muslim countries that are still experiencing disturbances.”

According to King Salman, Muslims should increase awareness of the dangers and risks stemming from terrorism and “individuals and organizations should double their efforts” to fight it.

Another keynote speaker, Ahmed Al-Tayib, head of Al-Azhar, called for educational reforms in Muslim countries to contain the spread of religious extremism. He linked extremism to “bad interpretations of the Qur’an and the Sunnah, the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).”

Al-Tayib blamed an accumulation of extreme trends in Islam as the culprit for terrorism that has led some people to embrace a misguided form of Islam.

“The only hope for the Muslim nation to recover unity is to tackle in our schools and universities this tendency to accuse Muslims of being unbelievers,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry said it would mobilize 1,500 security officers on the Kingdom’s northern border to combat terrorists. Different sectors of security agencies will take part in a 21-day exercise beginning Wednesday.


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