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Islamic anti-terror coalition is not against any country, sect or religion, says commander

Saudi Lt. Gen. Abdullah Al-Saleh (right) and Gen. Raheel Sharif, the military commander of the IMCTC, attend a press conference during the first meeting of the defense ministers of the 41-member coalition in Riyadh on Sunday. (AFP)
RIYADH: Gen. Raheel Sharif, the military commander of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), said on Sunday the coalition’s sole objective is to fight against terrorism and it is not against any country, sect or religion.
At the IMCTC Ministers of Defense Council in Riyadh, Gen. Sharif said: “A number of our member countries are under tremendous pressure while fighting well established terrorist organizations due to capacity shortages of their armed forces and law enforcement agencies.”
The coalition will act as a platform to assist member countries in their counterterrorism operations through intelligence sharing and capacity building, he said.
“The vision of IMCTC is to have a collective response against terrorism capable of leading and coordinating the efforts of member countries with high efficiency and effectiveness,” said Pakistan’s former military chief.
Explaining the mechanism of the coalition, he said it is divided into four main domains.
The first domain, Gen. Sharif said, will focus on countering terrorist Ideology. “Effort will be made to preserve and promote Islam’s universal message of moderation, tolerance and compassion, by creating intellectual, psychological and social impact to counter the perverted radical views.”
He said the IMCTC will also develop, produce and publish factual media content for dialogue to correct perceptions and discredit radical and extremist narratives.
“Next is terrorist financing. IMCTC will endeavor to dry up all types of financial support to terrorist organizations,” the retired Pakistani general said.
Responding to a query by Arab News about the likelihood of the coalition brokering a deal with social media companies in order to remove terrorist and extremist content, the IMCTC military commander said: “The collaboration is currently taking place. Besides fighting ideology, and denouncing the terrorist spirit, a lot of collaborations is going on.” 
The IMCTC military commander said to improve coordination, joint exercise will be conducted based on near real-time scenarios demanding quick response and promoting a sense of solidarity and shared responsibility to fight terrorism.
In addition, IMCTC will create a state-of-the-art intelligence and information-sharing platform to counter terrorist networks their facilitators, abettors, sympathizers and financiers. After correlating and incisive analysis of critical information, actionable intelligence will be put in place, he said.
Responding to a query by Arab News about the likelihood of the coalition brokering a deal with social media companies in order to remove terrorist and extremist content, the IMCTC military commander said: “The collaboration is currently taking place. Besides fighting ideology, and denouncing the terrorist spirit, a lot of collaborations is going on.”

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