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Drive Out Islamist Extremists: Trump to Leaders in Saudi Arabia

Trump told the leaders they need to decide for themselves what sort of future they want for their country, children

Published
World
2 min read
President Donald Trump poses for photos with King Salman and others at the Arab Islamic American Summit, at the King Abdulaziz Conference Center. (Photo: AP)

US President Donald Trump called on Arab leaders to do their fair share to "drive out" terrorism from their countries on Sunday in a speech that put the burden on the region to combat militant groups.

Trump, who generated controversy with his push to ban many Muslims from entering the United States, described the fight against terrorism as a battle between good and evil rather than a clash of civilizations.

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Trump told leaders of 55 Muslim majority countries representing more than a billion people:

America is prepared to stand with you in pursuit of shared interests and common security. But nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them...The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries and frankly for their families and for their children.

"It's a choice between two futures and its a choice America cannot make for you. A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and drive out the extremists.

"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," he said.

Trump’s “America first” philosophy helped him win the 2016 election and has rattled allies who depend on U.S. support for their defense. The president, who is struggling to contain a brewing political scandal at home, made clear in his address that Washington would partner with the Middle East but expected more action in return.

Trump is currently on a nine-day tour where Saudi Arabia was the first stop.

errorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land.

The speech in a gilded hall bedecked with chandeliers is part of an effort to redefine his relationship with the Muslim world after Trump frequently attacked Muslims on the campaign trail last year and tried to ban many from entering the United States.

Trump received a warm welcome from Arab leaders, who set aside his campaign rhetoric about Muslims and focused on his desire to crack down on Iran's influence in the region, a commitment they found wanting in Obama.

Trump’s signature phrase “radical Islamic terrorism” was not included in the speech, according to excerpts released in advance by the White House.

The speech was written by Stephen Miller, the architect of Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’.

Instead, he used the term "Islamist extremism", which refers to Islamism as political movement rather than Islam as a religion, a distinction that he had frequently criticized the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama for making.

As a candidate, Trump proposed temporarily banning Muslims from entering the United States. In office he ordered temporary bans on people from certain Muslim-majority countries, which have been blocked by courts that ruled they were discriminatory.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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