Anti-terrorism alliance welcomed by Islamic scholars and officials
ABU DHABI // The newly announced anti-terrorism coalition among Muslim countries will be a turning point in the history of Islamic nations, regional and national religious figures said on Wednesday.
The Muslim Council of Elders said the alliance between 34 countries would “work to eliminate terrorism and eradicate it from its roots and lay the foundations of peace, not only in Muslim societies but in the whole world”.
The council also called on other Arab countries to join the coalition “and unite [their] efforts during this landmark stage of human history” in order for peace to prevail among all people.
Similarly, the head of the UAE Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Dr Mohammed Al Kaabi, saw the “collective international, regional effort” as essential in order to “cooperate and coordinate to deter the dangers of terrorism, which has crossed borders and continents”.
He believed such an initiative would reduce terrorism and demolish it in “its public and secret hideouts”.
Dr Al Kaabi said the announcement of the alliance in Riyadh, in tandem with another in Cairo on a “different kind of alliance”, were a good way to end the year.
He described the Cairo announcement, on gathering all fatwa centres and authorities worldwide under the umbrella of the Egyptian fatwa house, as no less important than the military coalition.
“This worldwide gathering will offer a chance to exchange scientific, organisational and practical expertise between members to study contemporary life problems.”
The Muslim Council of Elders comprises Islamic scholars and experts from the Middle East, North Africa and the US.
The council, which is chaired by the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, Dr Sheikh Ahmad Al Tayyeb, was established in July last year as part of a number of initiatives to bring peace and moderation to the Muslim world.
It was a joint enterprise by Dr Al Tayyeb and Sheikh Abdullah bin Bayyah, the chairman of the Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies.
Dr Abdulkhaleq Abdullah, a political analyst, said the announcement of the alliance was “a smart political initiative. Arab and Muslim countries need to do something, so this announcement in itself responds to that international pressure”.
Such a move would not only benefit Saudi Arabia, Dr Abdullah said, but all countries.
“Fighting the hundreds of organisations that practise terrorism in the name of Islam should be through Islamic [forces] and not international ones,” Dr Abdullah said, adding that such organisations damaged the essence of Islam.
“The ball was in our court and we told them [the international community], there you go, we have an initiative and the ball now is in your court.
“Decisions should be issued from the UN to activate our gestures,” he said.
All GCC countries will benefit from the alliance, Dr Abdullah concluded.
“Gulf countries have challenged ISIL” with this initiative, he said, adding that the coalition would fight the terrorist organisation through ideology, religion, military and the media.
Updated: December 16, 2015 04:00 AM