Toronto - In what could possibly go down as the most anticipated speech of his presidential career, US President Donald Trump has delivered a speech on Islam during an appearance before attending members of the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Toronto – In what could possibly go down as the most anticipated speech of his presidential career, US President Donald Trump has delivered a speech on Islam during an appearance before attending members of the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday.
Identifying Saudi Arabia as the custodian and heart of Islam and the home of the two holiest sites in the Islamic faith, Trump declared the Kingdom the ideal place from which to launch a decisive and multi-tiered war against the “craven ideology” of terrorism.
Trump began his speech by praising the “enduring partnership” between the United States and Saudi Arabia. His function with the speech, he said, was to deliver a message from the American people of “friendship, hope and love.” He spoke of the American vision being one of “peace, prosperity and security” for the world.
The President clarified for doubters that he was “not here to lecture” or “to tell other people how to live.” Instead, he said, he was there to “offer partnership.”
Trump acknowledged that Muslims represent the greatest victims of terrorism, saying that some reports cite that 95 percent of the total number of victims of terrorist-driven violence are Muslim. He called it a “tragedy of epic proportions.” What he did not mention, however, was that the majority of the world’s Muslims do not live in the Middle East but rather in countries such as India and Pakistan, where the terrorist threat is growing most rapidly.
He compared the victims of Islamist terror to “generations of vanished dreams” in a speech that will perhaps be remembered as much for its metaphoric imagery as it’s substance. Trump paid tribute to the Arab world as the seat of humanity, praising ancient and modern wonders. He lamented that Arab youth are being “held at bay by bloodshed and terror.” He offered no solutions, however, in getting youth engaged in the battle that, presumably, their futures depend upon winning.
Trump urged Arab leaders in attendance and around the world to unite to drive out the terrorist spectre. “Drive them out of your places of worship, out of your communities, out of your Holy Land and out of this earth.”
He acknowledged the contributions of countries such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Kuwait, Bahrain, The United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, Qatar and Afghanistan for their commitments in the battle against terror. He reminded other leaders of their duty in ensuring that no terrorist finds sanctuary of Arab soil.
Saying “we will be judged by God,” Trump described the war on terror as a “battle between good and evil” and urged Arab leaders to do their share in pinching off all terrorist sources of financing. The most effective way to curtail terrorist activity, according to Trump’s speech, is to cut off all financial channels. To that end, he announced the creation of the Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre, newly signed during his visit to the Kingdom.
Trump was quick, however, to remind attendees that there is “still much work to be done.” He called upon religious leaders from all major faiths to preach that “barbarism will deliver you no glory.” Religious leaders, Trump said, must make it clear to worshippers that following the ideology of terror will result in a soul “fully condemned.”
“Heroes don’t kill innocents,” he said, “they save them.” Trump drew a direct line between combatting terror and solving the world’s refugee crisis by creating safe and prosperous places for people to live.
When it came to Iran, Trump did not mince his words. Florid imagery gave way to plain speech, as he charged Iran with “spreading destruction and chaos” across the region through the funding and training of terrorists.
With the unabashed assistance of Iran, Trump asserted, Syria’s Bashar al Assad has reached new heights of depraved barbarity against his own people, all in the name of protecting his own interests. He cited the Iranian people as Iran’s greatest victims and insisted that, until Iran begins to cooperate with the rest of the world, it will continue to be an international pariah. Trump urged the Arab world to “Isolate Iran, deny it.”
Trump closed his speech by praising Saudi Arabia’s King Salman for his leadership in the region. He reminded all those present that the birthplace of civilization is on the verge of a great “new Renaissance.” The key to unlocking the Arab world’s future potential, he said, is in the eradication of terror and its companion bloodshed.
Asking for unity, Trump vowed that “united we will not fail.”