Toronto - In a speech given during a key security screening conference in Munich, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, stressed the importance of involving predominantly Muslim countries in the fight against ISIS.
Toronto – In a speech given during a key security screening conference in Munich, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, stressed the importance of involving predominantly Muslim countries in the fight against ISIS.
According to a report in Al Jazeera, Merkel also made it clear that Islam is not the source of terrorism.
Instead of being the source of terrorism as so many analysts and critics espouse, Merkel sees the real root being a misunderstood, skewed interpretation of Islam that. To that end, she wholeheartedly endorses welcoming the participation of predominantly Muslim countries in the fight to defeat organizations such as ISIS and Boko Haram.
“I think those countries, first and foremost,” she said, “have to give a contribution. Because only in this way we would be able to convince people that is it not Islam that is the source of terrorism. But a falsely understood Islam.”
Merkel has made no secret of her dislike for the Trump administration’s insular policies, which resulted in a blocked attempt at a travel ban against seven Muslim countries. Merkel supports a broader response, one that involves Islamic leadership in the discussion and planning of a successful strategy.
“I expect from religious authorities of Islam to find strong language in order to delineate peaceful Islam from terrorism committed in the name of Islam. We as non-Muslims cannot do this, it should be done by Islamic clergy and authorities,” she said.
According to the same source, Merkel’s speech also stressed that, while maintaining productive ties with Russia is challenging, it is also a necessary ally in the fight. In Merkel’s opinion, strong multilateral ties need not only to be maintained, but also strengthened. Now is not the time for isolationism. Partnerships such as NATO, the UN and the EU are critical but are in need of some improvements.
Addressing a room of her peers, Merkel said, “Acting together strengthens everyone. We must see that the multilateral structures are in many places not efficient enough. I am firmly convinced that it is worth fighting for our common international, multilateral structures, but we must improve them in places.”
The first 100 days of Trump’s presidency have caused much consternation among world leaders. They have experienced doubts about American dependability to organizations such as NATO, unprecedented since the Cold War. It was with a collective sense of relief then, that the reassurances of American Vice President, Mike Pence, were greeted.
“The president asked me to be here today to convey a message, a reassurance- the US strongly supports NATO and we will be unwavering in our commitment to this transatlantic alliance,” Pence said. “Let no one doubt our commitment.”
Even with this reassurance, however, if remains to be seen what strategy will emerge from the conference or if Merkel’s advice will be heeded. It is also unclear if Muslim countries will be brought into an effective strategy. Such a strategy is critical to combat ISIS et al on the ground as well as clarify the difference between Islam and the violence committed in its name.