Riyadh Summit, a resounding success

Saudi Arabia, which has been in the forefront of efforts to promote inter-faith harmony in the backdrop of misperception and widening gulf due to terrorism phenomenon, took a historic lead in hosting Arab-Islamic-American Summit in Riyadh bringing together leaders and representatives from fifty countries of the world for dialogue on the burning issue of terrorism and extremism and how to forge cooperation to address the menace. Going by the fact that Muslims were at the receiving end in the on-going fight against terror and its implications and consequences, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz would go down in history as a leader who took practical measures to help safeguard interests of the Ummah in a highly polarised world.
And this became evident from the overall tone of the speech delivered by American President Donald Trump, who chose Saudi Arabia as the first country for his maiden foreign trip. There were apprehensions about the policies to be pursued by the new US administration vis-à-vis the Arab world and other Muslim countries and these concerns were aggravated by visa ban, which was widely seen as Muslim-specific. But Mr Trump gave message of hope, amity and friendship from the platform of Riyadh Summit. His commitment that “America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit cooperation and trust” would surely be seen as a positive development by Muslims across the globe if his pronunciation is followed by practical measures. He also declared that the US does not want war but forge friendship and that he believed in cooperative partnership. The assurance came in response to sagacious remarks made by King Salman that “we all, peoples and countries, reject in every language and in every form damaging the relations of Muslim countries with friendly countries and profiling countries based on a religious or sectarian basis.” The resolve of summit leaders to stand together to wipe out terror and the decision to establish a centre for choking finances for terrorists would go a long way in addressing the menace. However, one must point out that while urging the Muslim countries to get united (which they have been committing) to fight terror, the US President conspicuously skipped mentioning of the root causes of terrorism and extremism as without addressing them there can’t be sustainable peace in the world.

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