Saudi king: ‘terrorism fueled international opinion against Islam’

Muslims are now seen as 'culprits and as a source of fear and concern,' King Salman says

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Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz on Sunday denounced terrorism and radical Islamists who he said were not only “threatening Muslims” but also tainting and vilifying the image of Islam to non-Muslims.

King Salman’s statement was presented by Prince Khaled al-Faisal bin Abudlaziz, the royal’s Makka region advisor at the opening of an international conference titled “Islam and Combatting Terrorism” that is organized by the international Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC).

King Salman described “Muslim nations” as being “threatened by the infiltration of Islamized terrorism with its killing, oppression, pillaging and other ranges of aggression that have trespassed the borders of our Islamic world.”

He said these radicals, who are carrying “a falsified Islamic banner,” have promoted a version of Islam which is “fueling the international opinion to hate Muslims.”

Muslims are now seen as “culprits and as a source of fear and concern.”

The terrorist militants have also caused “embracement and nervousness to the Islamic nations, its organizations and its people in front of other nations which we are connected to through cooperation.”

He said ties between Muslim nations and other non-Muslim states were “almost shaken and had gone backward because of these terrorists.”

In addition to the “catastrophic loss in 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 eying to hurt Islam to vilify its followers, who are one billion and a half, in crimes Islam is innocent of.”

He said Saudi Arabia has “tried hard to fight terrorism as an ideology and practice and used its national security apparatus to combat terrorism relentlessly.”

“They paid with their lives in their fight against terrorism. And our air force is part of the international coalition fighting these terrorists,” the Saudi leader said.

Meanwhile, the king said “our clerics” have confronted these terrorist elements with a “decisive response” that their rhetoric and practice is “false and mischievous.”

He said these clerics have warned people “from violence and extremism in religion as it only polarizes the Muslim nations.”

The king also called for “moderation and forgiveness as a character of Islam, and whomever left this [character] cannot serve the Muslim nations and will only bring hatred and division.”

He also said “researchers at our universities and other institutes have offered succinct studies on terrorism as phenomenon, and they analyzed in an objective manner these groups while showcasing their dangers to societies.”

Saudi Arabia, which has strived for regional and international cooperation to fight terrorism, also established centers and organized conferences to further dialogue not only between Muslim sects but also between Muslims and people of other faiths, he said.

While its strategy to combat terrorism led to a “positive outcome,” “terrorism is still tampering with people, especially in Arab and Muslim countries that are still experiencing disturbances.”

He said Muslims should increase awareness of the dangers and risks coming from terrorism and “individuals and organizations should double their efforts” to fight it.

He urged people to defeat terrorism and warned “not to give any helpline to these terrorists or even sympathize with them.”

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