Muslim World League chief outlines need for anti-terror initiatives

Muslim World League Secretary General Mohammed Al-Issa addressing the media at the Riyadh Summit 2017. (Arab News)
Updated 20 May 2017

Muslim World League chief outlines need for anti-terror initiatives

RIYADH: The head of the Muslim World League (MWL) on Saturday described the need to “counter extremist ideology,” as he outlined a new anti-terror initiative set to be launched during US President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia.

Addressing the media at the Riyadh Summit 2017, MWL Secretary General Mohammed Al-Issa said over 1,500 fighters that have embraced Daesh and are fighting on its side come from one non-Muslim country alone.

He added that more than 45,000 individuals from more than 100 countries have embraced the extremist group’s ideologies.

“MWL is keen to counter extremist ideology by spreading the moderate Islamic thought and by presenting the true image of Islam to the world, in order to clear any misconceptions,” Al-Issa said.

“We have created several specialized centers, one of which… will be announced to coincide with the visit of US President Donald Trump’s to the Kingdom.”

Al-Issa added that these centers will be tasked with monitoring and tracking down Daesh and any other extremist group that targets Muslim youth via social media or other means.

“We welcome any effort to join our efforts to address the extremist and terrorist ideologies that have wreaked havoc on the region and the world, sparing no one,” Al-Issa added.

“We know, based on strong evidence, that there are some political powers feeding and supporting those terrorist groups; even though they might not agree ideologically, their political agendas meet at some point,” Al-Issa said.

He added that Saudi Arabia, which has been hit by and is still a target of extremist groups, stands at the forefront in the battle against terrorism.

He underlined that MWL, in cooperation with concerned Saudi authorities, shut down thousands of websites and social media accounts found to disseminate extremist and terrorist thought in the virtual sphere, saying that the fight against extremist ideology has been successful and started to bear fruit.

“Fighting extremist thought is of paramount importance. After the Taliban, which created Al-Qaeda, were toppled, their thought continued to spread. This proves that the battle against extremism cannot be fought exclusively through military action, but rather include fighting extremist ideologies that spread their deviant thought,” he said.

Al-Issa reiterated a previous call to Muslim minorities living in non-Muslim countries to abide by the rules and laws of their host countries and to pursue their religious rights through legal channels.

Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

Updated 26 May 2020

Russian mediation reopens major highway in NE Syria

  • Syria records 20 new cases of coronavirus in largest single-day increase

BEIRUT/DAMASCUS: Traffic returned to a major highway in northeastern Syria for the first time in seven months on Monday, following Russian mediation to reopen parts of the road captured last year by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Syrian Kurdish media and a Syrian Kurdish official said several vehicles accompanied by Russian troops began driving in the morning between the northern towns of Ein Issa and Tal Tamr. 

The two towns are controlled by regime forces and Syrian Kurdish fighters while the area between them is mostly held by Turkey-backed opposition fighters.

Turkish troops and allied Syrian fighters captured parts of the highway known as M4 in October, when Ankara invaded northeastern Syria to drive away Syrian Kurdish fighters. The M4 links Syria’s coastal region all the way east to the Iraqi border.

Four convoys will drive on the M4 every day with two leaving from Tal Tamr and two from Ein Issa, according to the Kurdish ANHA news agency. The report said a convoy will leave from each town at 8 a.m., and another set of convoys will do the same, three hours later.

The ANHA agency added that the opening of the highway will shorten the trip between the two towns as people previously had to take roundabout, side roads.

“This is the first time the road has been opened” since October, said Mervan Qamishlo, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led and US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Russia, a main power broker with Turkey in Syria, mediated the deal to reopen the highway, he said. Russia and Turkey back rival groups in Syria’s nine-year conflict.

Coronavirus cases

Syria reported 20 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, the largest single-day increase to date.

The war-torn country has recorded 106 infections and four deaths so far, and new cases have increased in recent days with the return of Syrians from abroad.

Syria has kept an overnight curfew in place but has begun to open some of its economy after a lockdown. Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.