During his appearance at the Arab Strategy Forum, which was held in Dubai on Tuesday, the former UK foreign secretary William Hague noted that the Saudi-led antiterrorism Islamic coalition, which was announced the same day in Riyadh, would be just as advantageous to the West as it is to that country, especially since ISIL wants to make it look as if it is waging a holy war against the West.
In a comment piece, the Saudi columnist Mashari Al Dhaydi wrote in the London-based daily Asharq Al Awsat, “the announcement by the Saudi crown prince and minister of defence Prince Mohammed bin Salman of a new Islamic coalition of 34 member-states heralds a new historic chapter in the Islamic world, and the world, afflicted with terrorism disguised as Islamic”.
Muslims pooling together their military, political and intellectual forces to fight terrorism represents a wide-ranging and profound transformation in the Muslim community, but added, “that is if intentions were true and their resolve didn’t wane at a later stage,” he said.
The coalition, at these difficult times, brings many advantages, not least of which is protecting Muslims themselves from the scourge of the ISILs and the Al Qaedas and their affiliates, and from Iran-backed militias, for they all represent religious terrorism and they are all legitimate targets for the new coalition. Or, at least, they all should be if the coalition wants to succeed and gather popular support, the writer suggested.
Another great advantage of the newly formed coalition is that it would contribute to silencing non-Muslim extremist voices that have been striving to brand all Muslims as terrorists or suspects.
For his part, in an article headlined “Finally, an Islamic Coalition to Fight Terrorism”, published in the Lebanese daily An-Nahar, the columnist Rajeh Al Khoury wrote that the new coalition constitutes a significant turning point in the war on ISIL and other terrorist organisations.
“The recent terrorist crimes in European cities have generated an apprehensive sentiment that borders on racism against Arabs and Muslims in western communities, as evidenced by reactions,” he noted.
When two men are stopped and interrogated at a US airport just for conversing in Arabic, it becomes clear that matters are dangerously moving towards a clash of civilisations, and that, precisely, is ISIL’s bet.
ISIL has hijacked Islam and has distorted its image in global public opinion to the point that, for some in the West, every Muslim or Arab has become synonymous with “terrorist”.
“The joint statement announcing the formation of the Islamic coalition was laudable, mainly because it was formulated based on the tenets of the Islamic Sharia that prohibit terrorism in all its shapes and forms, and because it declared a military, ideological and media war on terrorism including all terrorist organisations,” the writer added.
It is also significant that the coalition will be led by Riyadh, a centre of Sunni Islam in the world.
Additionally, Sunni nations are better placed than anyone else to strike at ISIL and terrorism for it is under the banner of Islam that terrorists have been committing their crimes and shooting videos of gruesome killings.
It is only normal that real Muslims assume the responsibility of wiping out those who have hijacked their religion.
* Translated by Rasha Makarem