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Joint effort to fight extremism

  • Most of the Sunni extremist organizations operating around the world -- from the Taliban in Afghanistan, radical religious outfits in Southeast Asia and even the globally dreaded IS group -- have evolved around the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect which is itself closely associated with Saudi Arabia. Photo courtesy; AFP

Sin Chew Daily

King Salman of Saudi Arabia recently paid an official visit to Malaysia. Although he only had four days here, the visit nevertheless has paved a smooth way for further cooperation between the two countries in politics, economy, culture, military and security.

Before leaving the country, King Salman issued a joint statement with the Malaysian government in recognizing the fact that extremism has nothing to do with race and religion. Both countries also agreed to set up King Salman Center for Global Peace in Malaysia in a bid to reinforce the Islamic world's battle against religious extremism and to fight terrorism to ensure world peace and security.

The IS group, which has been scourging much of the Middle East in recent years, is the most typical instance of an Islamic extremist organization, with its powerful military might and endorsement of extreme religious fundamentalism. The IS group managed to capture cities and towns in Syria and Iraq, but its ultimate goal has been to flex its muscles over the whole Muslim world.

IS' atrocious reign and iniquities against humanity have not only distorted real Islamic teachings, but have also spawned a continuous stream of refugees that has since become a source of instability in the region.

To rid the world of this malignancy, all nations must work together in unity. It is under such a common understanding that both Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have come together to fight terrorism.

The once mighty IS receded in defeat in recent months following a series of air raids by the US and Russian forces as well as aggressive onslaughts from the security forces of Iraq and Syria, showing that their concerted effort has paid off.

With the help of Russia, the Syrian forces have managed to retake the land around Palmyra and hence the control of nearby territories, marking an important milestone in crushing the terrorist group.

As for Iraq, the security forces there have since late last year recaptured the city of Mosul, IS' last fortress in the country, in coordination with US air raids. The second largest city of Iraq, Mosul was where IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi founded his IS Caliphate, and an important stronghold of the group. The defeat in Mosul deals a severe blow on IS.

Although IS has lost most of the territories it invaded in 2014, and could slowly relinquish its control of other places as well, it is believed that they will not vanish or halt their aggressive jihadist actions just that. This is because if extreme religious fundamentalism is not completely uprooted, these extremists will recede to remote bases awaiting the opportunity to launch a comeback.

As a matter of fact, most of the Sunni extremist organizations operating around the world -- from the Taliban in Afghanistan, radical religious outfits in Southeast Asia and even the globally dreaded IS group -- have evolved around the fundamentalist Wahhabi sect which is itself closely associated with Saudi Arabia.

Most of the terrorists involved in the September 11 attacks, including Osama bin Laden, were from Saudi. They all used to receive the economic support from influential Saudi leaders. It is therefore not an overstatement to claim that Saudi Arabia has been the birthplace of Islamic extremism, and our initiative to set up a center for global peace with Riyadh therefore carries enormous significance.

 

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