Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman has vowed terrorists will be pursued until they are “wiped off the face of the earth” in the first meeting of a new Arab alliance designed to defeat extremism.
“We will not allow them (terrorists) to distort our peaceful religion. Today we are sending a strong message that we are working together to fight terrorism,” Prince bin Salman told assembled defence ministers in a keynote address in Riyadh on Sunday.
“In past years, terrorism has been functioning in all of our countries… with no coordination” against it from governments, he added. “This ends today, with this alliance.”
The crown prince, who is also defence minister, created the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition in 2015 in response to the growing threat of Isis and criticism that Islamic countries were not doing enough to counter religious extremism.
The first meeting this week comes as Isis faces the collapse of its so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria – but in the wake of a suicide bombing and gunmen assault on a mosque in Egypt’s Sinai province last week which killed more than 300 people.
The “painful event” was a reminder of the “danger of terrorism and extremism”, Prince bin Salman said.
“Beyond the killing of innocent people and the spread of hatred, terrorism and extremism distort the image of our religion,” he added.
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