President Trump on his last day in Saudi Arabia delivered a landmark speech to Muslim leaders at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh. The historic speech delivered at the King Abdulaziz Conference Centre called for a coalition of Muslim countries to unite on the fight against the growing threat of radical Islam and “stamp out extremism.”

He began by saying, “Today we begin a new chapter that will bring lasting benefits to all of our citizens,” and urged Muslim leaders to “take the lead in combating radicalisation” in a message that also extended American “friendship and hope.”

President Trump outlined his vision for the region as “one of peace, security and prosperity,” referring to Muslim and world leaders who were listening as “friends and allies” in a reaffirmation of old friendships and alliances decimated under the Obama administration.  He also sent a signal that a Trump Administration was open to new alliances saying, “I look forward to working with you.”

The President then offered an assurance to regional allies which had all but diminished under the Barack Obama era.

President Trump gives a speech to Muslim leaders during the Arab Islamic American Summit at the King Abdulaziz Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday, 21 May, 2017. Credit: AP/Evan Vicci

“We are not here to lecture. We are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be or how to worship.  Instead we are here to offer partnership, based on shared interests and values.”

The speech that will be remembered for years to come minced no words on the threat of radical Islamic terrorism describing it as, “a battle between the barbarians seeking to destroy life” and “a battle between good and evil.

“There can be no co-existence with this violence.  There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it and no ignoring it. Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.

“Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death,” said Trump in his strongest rebuke of the cult of death of radical Islamic terrorism.

President then reassured Muslim leaders and the region that unlike policy prescriptions of the past, “America will not seek to impose [its] way of life” on their nations but will lend its hand in the “spirit of cooperation and trust.”

Time to Make A Choice

President Trump with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday 21 May 2017. Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

While the U.S. may assist in tackling the scourge of terrorism, the President called on Muslim nations to lead the war to “conquer extremism” in a struggle for the survival of their nations. He pointed out that while the U.S. prepared to stand with Muslim nations in the “pursuit of shared interests and common security,” they should not wait for American power to crush this enemy for them. Instead, he said,

“The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their country and frankly for their families and for their children. It’s a choice between two futures and it is a choice America cannot make for you.”

Drive Them Out

President Trump meets with Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa al Khalifa during a bilateral meeting on Sunday 21/5/2017 in Riyadh. Credit: AP/Evan Vucci

One of most powerful and memorable moments of the speech came when President Trump called on Muslim nations to stand up and fight for their people and regain control of their countries by driving out terrorists and extremists by saying the following,

“A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists.

“Drive them out!

“Drive them out of your places of worship!  Drive them out of your communities!

“Drive them out of your Holy Land!  And drive them out of this earth.”

The President pointed out that while the US seeks only “peace not war”, the onus is on Muslim Nations to “take on the burden” if terrorism is to be defeated and send its “wicked ideology into oblivion.

He then laid out steps for on how joint efforts to “Drive Them Out” can succeed.

  1. President Trump urged all Muslim nations to begin by denying “all territory” to ISIS and its “foot soldiers of evil” which they need for their continued existence, operation and relevance.
  2. The only way to deny jihadist terrorists sanctuary is for each nation to have absolute jurisdiction of all its sovereign soil which will also deny them of populations.
  3. Lastly, denying these groups access to capital is by cutting all sources and channels of income is fundamental to their total destruction.

Battle Between “Good and Evil”

President Trump is greeted by King Salman bib Abdulaziz Al Said upon arrival to give a speech at the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday 21 May 2017. Credit: Reuters

Words matter in this region and President Trump emphasized that tackling ‘radical Islamic terrorism’ is not a war on Islam or any other faith by stating,

“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sex or different civilizations. This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people all in the name of religion,” before calling it out for what it is.

“This is the battle between good and evil.”

He then proceeded to speak to every world leader that might have been listening, “If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing then not only will we be “judged by our people…we will be judged by history” and “judged by God.”

Urges Muslim Unity to Tackle Spread of Radical Islamic Terrorism

Trump’s speech was in essence not only directed to the Muslim leaders but to world leaders on the true threat of terrorism.  The call for unity to tackle what he referred to as the spread of “organized terrorism is an appeal to every nation facing the challenge of this cancer.

Historic Moment 

President Trump during an Arab Islamic American Summit photo shoot with other Muslim Leaders in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on Sunday May 21, 2017. Credit: Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Nations at the Arab Islamic American Summit signed the Terrorists Financing Targeting Centre agreement “to prevent financing of terrorism.” The Centre is co-chaired by the United States and Saudi Arabia and joined by every member of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC).

President Trump applauded GCC for blocking funders from using their countries as “financial base for financing terror” and for designating Hezbollah as a “terrorist organization.”

The President urged unity against the murder of innocent Muslims, persecution of women and Jews as well as the slaughter of Christians.  He also urged religious leaders to condemn barbarism and piety and for political leaders to speak out.

“Barbarism would deliver you no glory. Piety to evil will bring you no dignity.”

“With God’s help this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed.  We pray the special gathering may someday be remembered as the beginning of peace in the Middle East and maybe even all over world.  But this future can only be achieved thru’ defeating terrorism and the ideology that drives it.”


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