Press Release: Saudi Arabia continues to fight terrorism and the extremism at its source
- Saudi Arabia condemns terrorism in all its forms, its supporters and those who justify it.
- The Kingdom has a track record on countering radicalisation, extremism and terrorism.
- Saudi Arabia continues to clamp down on the funding of terrorism and its misguided ideology.
- Saudi Arabia will continue to work closely with its international partners to eradicate extremism.
BRUSSELS 11.02.2017 There is a deeply embedded misconception about Saudi Arabia that does not reflect the reality on the ground. Saudi Arabia does not fund or support any radical institution in Belgium or any other country. The Kingdom is a pioneer in addressing the problem of radicalisation and terrorism at its root; a fact that all too often goes unacknowledged. Saudi Arabia has consistently made its position clear: the Kingdom condemns terrorism in all its forms.
These are not empty words. Saudi Arabia has too often fallen victim to the same kind of attacks that have afflicted Europe in recent years, attacks that seek to destabilize our countries and terrorize our citizens. In response, the Saudi leadership has long been at the frontline of fighting terrorism, and has taken a series of concrete actions to counter this very real threat. This fight takes place on numerous different fronts, both within its borders and beyond: from its leading role within the international coalition to combat terrorist groups to the rigorous implementation of stringent financial controls advocated by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money laundering and terrorist financing; from cracking down on fundraising at mosques and public places to outlawing international money transfers from Saudi charities to ensure funds cannot enter the hands of extremists.
On the international stage, Saudi Arabia works together with its partners, including the Belgian and European authorities, to combat terrorism, its funding and the extremist ideologies at its source. The Kingdom actively seeks to encourage dialogue between followers of different religions and cultures in order to promote harmony between them. By way of example, the KAICIID Centre for Dialogue in Vienna is an intergovernmental centre of exchange which was set up by Saudi Arabia to promote justice, peace and reconciliation, and counteract the misuse of religion to justify violence. Furthermore, the centre played a pivotal role in founding the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre with a contribution of USD 110 million that has strengthened the activities of Member States in confronting the extremist ideology that feeds terrorism.
Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Islam – a religion of peace. We see it as our duty to stop our faith from being so gruesomely distorted by a deeply misguided extremist minority, and to protect ourselves from their depraved actions. Despite much rumour and ugly political rhetoric, the Belgian Government itself found that there was not a trace of extremism to be found at the Great Mosque of Brussels when it conducted its investigation last year. This was recognised by Belgian Ministers of the Interior and Justice Messrs. Jan Jambon and Koen Geens who confirmed that the Great Mosque of Brussels neither preaches nor encourages any form of radicalism according to Belgian state security services, and noted that the mosque and its financing are also regularly vetted. Try to find a single Saudi-funded Islamic centre preaching hate and you will fail. The Kingdom itself has always dismissed any imam from its mosques for intolerance. We will do everything in our power to stamp out extremist rhetoric wherever we have influence, and we urge authorities in Belgium to do the same.
It is through cooperation that European countries can benefit from the Saudi experiences of fighting extremism and radical thought. There are, for instance, a wealth expertise to be gained from the Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counselling and Care Centre which rehabilitates extremists and the Assakina Campaign for Dialogue, which works to correct misinterpretation of Islamic doctrines about violence, reject excess and promote moderation. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia will continue to work closely with its allies, including here in Belgium, to help identify and eradicate extremism, nip jihadist recruitment in the bud and prevent further terrorist attacks. We can respond to the charges levelled against us only with the truth and hope that we will be given a fair hearing.