United States President Donald Trump called on Arab leaders to confront extremism during a speech on Sunday in which he portrayed fighting terrorism as a battle between good and evil rather than a clash of civilizations.
Trump delivered a speech on terrorism in a bid to appeal to Muslims worldwide. He said that concerned countries must work together, saying that unity makes counterterror efforts invincible.
Trump has set course for consolidating Saudi-US ties by making his first foreign stop at the cradle of Islam and the home to its holy Ka’aba.
In order to advance counterterrorism efforts as the threat of extremist violence taunts the world, Trump and Saudi Arabia have embarked on a united mission with Islamic partners to fight terror.
Trump added that responsible nations must work together to end the crisis in Syria, blaming the Iranian regime for much of the responsibility for so much instability in the region.
The US President said that bolstered by Iran, Syria’s dictator Bashar al-Assad had committed unspeakable crimes.
“This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it,” Trump said, according to excerpts of the speech released by the White House.
“That means honestly confronting the crisis of extremism and the terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians,” he will say.
The speech is part of a re-set effort with the Muslim world after Trump frequently attacked Muslims on the campaign trail last year and tried to ban many from entering the US.
Struggling to contain a brewing political scandal at home, Trump kicked off his first foreign trip in Saudi Arabia.
“Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land,” he said.
Trump received a warm welcome from Arab leaders and focused on his desire to crack down on Iran’s influence in the region.
The US and Gulf Arab countries agreed on Sunday to coordinate their efforts against the financing of terrorist groups, a key White House objective.
The president also convened the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council as part of his effort to counter Iran with a NATO-like Arab force.
Trump and the leaders will establish a center aimed at cracking down on the ability of ultra-hardline ISIS terrorists to spread their message.