RIYADH: The head of the Muslim World League (MWL) on Saturday described the need to “counter extremist ideology,” as he outlined a new anti-terror initiative set to be launched during US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
Addressing the media at the Riyadh Summit 2017, MWL Secretary General Mohammed Al-Issa said over 1,500 fighters that have embraced Daesh and are fighting on its side come from one non-Muslim country alone.
He added that more than 45,000 individuals from more than 100 countries have embraced the extremist group’s ideologies.
“MWL is keen to counter extremist ideology by spreading the moderate Islamic thought and by presenting the true image of Islam to the world, in order to clear any misconceptions,” Al-Issa said.
“We have created several specialized centers, one of which… will be announced to coincide with the visit of US President Donald Trump’s to the Kingdom.”
Al-Issa added that these centers will be tasked with monitoring and tracking down Daesh and any other extremist group that targets Muslim youth via social media or other means.
“We welcome any effort to join our efforts to address the extremist and terrorist ideologies that have wreaked havoc on the region and the world, sparing no one,” Al-Issa added.
“We know, based on strong evidence, that there are some political powers feeding and supporting those terrorist groups; even though they might not agree ideologically, their political agendas meet at some point,” Al-Issa said.
He added that Saudi Arabia, which has been hit by and is still a target of extremist groups, stands at the forefront in the battle against terrorism.
He underlined that MWL, in cooperation with concerned Saudi authorities, shut down thousands of websites and social media accounts found to disseminate extremist and terrorist thought in the virtual sphere, saying that the fight against extremist ideology has been successful and started to bear fruit.
“Fighting extremist thought is of paramount importance. After the Taliban, which created Al-Qaeda, were toppled, their thought continued to spread. This proves that the battle against extremism cannot be fought exclusively through military action, but rather include fighting extremist ideologies that spread their deviant thought,” he said.
Al-Issa reiterated a previous call to Muslim minorities living in non-Muslim countries to abide by the rules and laws of their host countries and to pursue their religious rights through legal channels.