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Gathering of Arab and Islamic Leaders Leads to Discussion on Rooting Out Terrorism

The reality of terrorism is apparent throughout the Middle East, as the region is often seen as ground zero for many of the militias terrorizing populations throughout the international community. During the 2017 Arab Islamic American Summit, leaders from over 50 countries came together to discuss the issues and challenges regarding rooting out terrorism at the regional and global level.

U.S. President Donald Trump, leaders and representatives of 55 Arab and Muslim-dominated countries kicked off their summit in Riyadh on Sunday, focusing on unity in the terrorism fight.

“We all, peoples and countries, reject in every language and in every form damaging the relations of Muslim countries with friendly countries and profiling countries based on a religious or sectarian basis,” said King Salman of Saudi Arabia. “The Iranian regime has spearheaded global terrorism since the Khomenei revolution until now.”

In his address, Trump said that the U.S. was seeking to build a coalition in the Middle East to stamp out extremism. He pointed out that 95% of the victims of terrorist attacks are themselves Muslims.

“This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between good and evil,” said Trump. “This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations.”

Al Jazeera’s Hashem Ahelbarra, reporting from Riyadh, noted that the U.S. leader presented a different tone than in the past.

“Trump reached out to the Muslim world with a new message, calling for peace, hope, and unity. I think this is something that will resonate among Arab leaders, particularly those who were attending the summit today and their support is going to be crucial for the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),” said Ahelbarra.

Donald Trump, Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa


Trump and other leaders signed a memorandum of understanding with the members of the Gulf Cooperation Council on countering financing of terrorism. The GCC includes Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Kuwait, Oman, and Bahrain.

There was also a key joint statement from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, which included several points related to Iran. Included in the statement was the need to strengthen cooperation between the international coalition and the Islamic Alliance against ISIS, emphasizes Iran’s regional interventions pose a threat to the region and the world, and the importance of working to stop Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs. They have also decided to review some of the terms of the nuclear agreement with Iran.

This emphasis on Iran throughout the summit was welcomed by the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) President-elect Maryam Rajavi. She reiterated that censure of the clerical regime’s actions and crimes must be pursued and realized through practical measures, including severing ties with the ruling theocracy and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and expelling them from the region.

“The ultimate solution to the crisis engulfing the whole region is the overthrow of the velayat-e faqih regime by the Iranian people and [the] Resistance. Replacing the mullahs’ rule with freedom and popular sovereignty is the desire of all the people of Iran, who have sacrificed 120,000 of their children to achieve it. Recognizing this demand is the prerequisite to peace and tranquility in the Middle East region and to international security,” said Rajavi.

She encouraged the international community to focus on referring the Iranian regime to the UN Security Council and the International Criminal Court for its human rights abuses and the 1988 massacre of political prisoners.

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