Defeating Terrorism and the Ideology That Drives It

May 22, 2017

In Saudi Arabia, the first stop on President Donald Trump's inaugural overseas trip, he called on the Muslim world to unequivocally defeat terrorism and stamp out the ideology that drives it:

"Above all, we must be united in pursuing the one goal that transcends every other consideration. That goal is to meet history's great test, to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces terrorism brings with it every single time."

The fight against terrorism is not a battle between different faiths, sects, or civilizations, said President Trump. "This battle is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life and decent people, all in the name of religion. . . .This is a battle between good and evil."

But this battle can only be won if everyone does their share. "The first task in this joint effort," said President Trump, "is for your nations to deny all territory to the foot soldiers of evil. Every country in the region has an absolute duty to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil":

"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."

At the same time, Muslim religious leaders must stand united against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians. "Religious leaders," urged President Trump, "must make this absolutely clear -- barbarism will deliver you no glory. Piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and your soul will be fully condemned."

For many centuries, the Middle East has been home to Christians, Muslims, and Jews living side by side. "We must practice tolerance and respect for each other once again," said President Trump, "and make this region a place where every man and woman, no matter their faith or ethnicity, can enjoy a life of dignity and hope."