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Fact Sheet – Qatars History of Funding Terrorism and Extremism

Saudi Foreign Minister: Demands on Qatar to Stop Funding Terrorism are Non-Negotiable

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir called on Qatar to end its support for terrorism and extremism in the Middle East.

“This idea that you can fund extremist groups, that you can pay ransom to terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, that you can send $300 million to the Shi’ite militias in Iraq with most of it ending up with the Quds Force in Iran, is not acceptable,” he said in a press briefing at the Saudi Embassy in Washington on 27 June. “I think most countries in the world would agree with the demand to stop this.”

“We hope that reason will prevail and that our brothers in Qatar will do the right thing and respond to the demands of the international community to cease these activities. Because we think we can’t be on both sides of this issue. You cannot fight against ISIS, you cannot commit to participate in the global center against extremism, you cannot commit to participate in a financial center to combat terror financing and at the same time allow these things to go on,” he said.

Minister Al-Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia has expressed its grievances and it is now up to Qatar to make amends, and he said Saudi Arabia’s demands are non-negotiable. Specifically, Saudi Arabia has demanded that Qatar end its practice of harboring known terrorists, prohibit funding from within its borders to Al-Qaeda and Daesh (ISIS), and shut down its news network, Al-Jazeera, which has been inciting violence throughout the region.

“It’s very simple. We made our point. We took our steps. And it’s up to [Qatar] to amend [its] behavior. And once they do, then things will be worked out. But if they don’t, they will remain isolated,” said Minister Al-Jubeir. “If Qatar wants to come back into the GCC pool, they know what they have to do.”

The Foreign Minister reiterated that the decision to cut off diplomatic ties with Qatar was made after taking into account the history of its behavior, including harboring known terrorists and funding extremist groups throughout the region.

“It was an issue that has been building up, and then a decision was made that enough is enough. Zero tolerance,” he said.

 

An official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s strong condemnation of the bombing attacks that struck Mar Girgis Church, Tanta and St Marks Coptic Orthodox Church, Alexandria killing and wounding tens of people.

The Source emphasised that such heinous and cowardly terrorist attacks that took place in Egypt on Sunday violate all religious principles as well as ethical and human values.

The Source offered the Kingdom’s condolences to the families of the victims and to the Government and people of the Arab Republic of Egypt, wishing a speedy recovery to the wounded.


The Saudi council of Senior Ulema (Muslim Scholars) condemns twin Egypt Church Attacks

The Council of Senior Muslim Scholars released their statement on twitter saying:

ThE bombings that targeted two churches in Egypt are criminal acts and forbidden by Islamic law. Muslims are in agreement that these acts are a violation to the security, stability and safety of people.

A Muslim who believes in God and the Last Day will not commit such crimes. These crimes are committed by those who deviate from their faith.

These acts are forbidden in Islam for they are acts of treachery, betrayal, sin and aggression.

 

The Custodian of Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent his condolences and sympathy to Egypt’s President Abdulfattah Al-Sisi following the two terrorist bombings that struck churches in the Egyptian cities of Tanta and Alexandria.

In his cable, the Monarch said he was deeply pained to receive the news of the killing and injuring of dozens of innocent citizens. He expressed in the strongest terms his denunciation and condemnation of the two sinful criminal terrorist acts, confirming to the President that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia stands alongside the Arab Republic of Egypt and its brotherly people against all those who attempt to threaten its security and stability.

In his own name and on behalf of the people and government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Monarch sent his sincere condolences and sympathy to the President, the families of the victims and the Egyptian people, wishing the injured a quick recovery and the Egyptian President and people safety against any harm.

The Council of Senior Muslim Scholars also released the following statement following the horrific terrorist attack in Egypt.

“The bombings that targeted two churches in Egypt are criminal acts and forbidden by Islamic law. Muslims are in agreement that these acts are a violation to the security, stability and safety of people. A Muslim who believes in God and the Last Day will not commit such crimes. These crimes are committed by those who deviate from their faith. These acts are forbidden in Islam for they are acts of treachery, betrayal, sin and aggression.”

Statement

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to combatting terrorism and radicalisation is all too often unacknowledged or understated. Saudi Arabia does not fund, support or excuse any radical institution in Belgium, Europe or anywhere. In fact, the Kingdom is recognised as a pioneer in addressing the problem of radicalisation and terrorism at its root.

Falsehoods linking Saudi Arabia and its values to extremism cannot be allowed to circulate unchallenged. Extremist thought and acts of senseless violence are diametrically opposed to what the Kingdom stands for. To tar Saudi Arabia with the same brush as Da’esh/ISIS  is lax.

In reality, condemnation of terrorism permeates all levels of Saudi society from King Salman bin Abdulaziz to the Saudi citizen, and it is clear to see why. Saudi Arabia is the birthplace and home of Islam; the Kingdom’s culture, society and justice are closely tied to Islamic values of peace and tolerance. To commit a terrorist act is therefore deeply un-Islamic and, by extension, profoundly un-Saudi.

“The biggest challenge facing our Islamic nation is how to keep our youth, the real wealth and hope of the future, away from the dangers facing them – particularly extremism and violence – and distance them from masterminds of misleading ideas that force them to behave in extraordinary ways that contradict the principles of our Islamic religion and the pillars and values of our Islamic societies.”

King Salman bin Abdulaziz, Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, July 2016

This logic is reinforced by the ‘Majlis Hay’at Kibar al-‘Ulama’ – The Council of Senior Scholars. The Council is the Kingdom’s highest religious body, which finds consensus between learned religious scholars from a broad spectrum of Sunni Muslim schools of thought. The Council advises the King on religious matters through its ‘fatwas’ or decisions, which are well respected, not only in the Kingdom, but by Muslims around the world. Condemnation of terrorism from the Council has been unwavering, issuing its first fatwa on the subject in 1988.

The Council has consistently made clear that acts of terrorism cannot be considered in any way Islamic, nor their perpetrators Muslim. In 2010, the Council defined terrorism as any “crime seeking to corrupt and destabilise the security of life and property, private and public, such as destroying housing, schools, hospitals, factories, bridges, blowing up or hijacking airplanes, or the usurpation of the public resources of the state such as oil and gas reserves and all such acts of corruption and vandalism are prohibited in Islam. Whosoever alleges that it is jihad is ignorant and misguided. It is in no way jihad for the sake of Allah.”

More recently, the General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars in June 2016 stated that “Islam outlaws terrorism and considers it as a corruption in the land, which ultimately serves only the people with racist believes that spread hatred and push for more division, which does not serve to build a world of order and a recognition of rights.”

In September 2014 the Council pronounced that “Terrorism is a heinous crime perpetrating injustice and aggression and is rejected by the Shariah, sound disposition and common sense in all its forms.” It is important also to underline the universality of the Council’s decisions regarding terrorism. Fatwas unfailingly call on the whole world to stand against it, and the Senior Scholars respond to heinous acts wherever they are committed.

Following the horrific terroristic attacks in Paris in 2015, it was reiterated that “Islam bans this terrorist action and does not accept any justification for it.” In the wake of the further lamentable attacks in Brussels in March 2016, the Council of Senior Scholars “affirmed that the whole world should unify to fight terrorism whatever its source is and regardless of the targeted region, and that the criminalisation of terrorism should not be justified in a region unlike the other, this will be a mean of intensifying terrorism and expanding it”.

Months later, when the scourge of terrorism re-emerged in Nice, France, the Council stated that “Islam magnifies the sanctity of human blood and criminalizes terrorism that kills and terrorizes innocent people in their homes, markets and facilities teeming with men, women and children, and that all humanity rejects and condemns it”.

The Kingdom’s rejection of all forms of terrorism is not merely empty words but also reflected in its actions. Most notable among these is Saudi Arabia leadership in the Islamic Alliance against Terrorism. On the occasion of the Alliance’s announcement, the Council declared that “fighting and combating terrorism are one of the most important duties imposed by the Islamic religion, which is a duty at a time where the Islamic world has to be urged to fight and cooperate against it.” In an age where wilful disinformation is become increasingly prevalent in our societies, it is of paramount that we strive more than ever to read beyond the sensationalist headlines, scratch beneath the surface of unfounded allegations, and examine the facts more rigorously.

Those trying to link ISIS to Islam, Sunnis or so-called Wahhabis or to the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, are mistaken. ISIS and what they’re doing is not Islam. Islam does not justify the killing of innocent people. Islam does not justify violence and does not justify hate. Islam is a religion of moderation, tolerance, love and mercy. What these criminals are doing has nothing to do with Islam.

Our Kingdom will continue to support national and international authorities to help eradicate the terrorist scourge and its supporters from our societies.

Ambassador Abdulrahman S. Alahmed

Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Belgium & Luxembourg
Head of the Saudi Mission to the European Union

March KSA In Focus

KSA Mission Newsletter March 2017

The month’s issue provides an update on Saudi’s contribution to a new fund to protect cultural heritage from destruction by extremist groups, the situation in Yemen and Saudi Arabia’s appeal for peace in the country, the potential for greater cooperation between the EU and the Kingdom on counter-terrorism and HRH Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman’s promising visit to President Donald Trump in Washington.

La newsletter est également disponible en français: Focus Arabie Saoudite Mars 2017

“We remain firmly united in our outrage at Daesh’s atrocities and in our determination to eliminate this global threat and overcome its false, destructive narrative. We reiterate our commitment to an integrated, multidimensional, and comprehensive approach to defeat Daesh and its global networks, fully recognizing this will require sustained, focused efforts.”

Ministers of the Global Coalition against Da’esh, 22 March 2017

Europe has once more been struck by the scourge of terrorism. We mourn several innocent lives needlessly taken in London, and wish a full recovery to those injured. This mindless barbarism bears no resemblance to the Islam that we follow and preach, and is an affront to the peaceful religion that Da’esh and other such groups claim to represent.

It is apt now, not to submit to the terror Da’esh wishes to propagate, but rather to stand united in the face of this threat. The international community must continue to cooperate to eliminate the untiring menace of violent extremism. The simple fact is that we are more effective when we work together to counter the multiple threats we face.

Indeed, only yesterday, Foreign Ministers from the 68 countries of the Global Coalition against Da’esh met in Washington and recommitted to intensifying and accelerating their efforts to eliminate these terrorists. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is at the core of this coalition, which reflects the international community’s will to put an end to the senseless destruction and extremism Da’esh stands for.

Abdulrahman S. Alahmed
Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the Kingdom of Belgium and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and Head of the Saudi Mission to the European Union

 

The full Statement by Ministers of the Global Coalition can be read here.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz has recommitted the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to “strike with an iron fist” the terror groups that seek to recruit youths to “extremism and violence,” and pledged efforts to “distance them from masterminds of misleading ideas.”

 

In a message to the people of Saudi Arabia and all the world’s Muslims on the occasion of the Eid Al-Fitr, King Salman urged Muslims to unite and condemned terrorism and extremism, stressing their contradiction to Islam.

 

“The sedition witnessed in the Islamic world today requires all of us to exert the utmost effort to unify our voice, close ranks and work together to solve the problems of the Islamic nation, and achieve victory for its issues,” said King Salman. “However, the biggest challenge facing our Islamic nation is how to keep our youth, the real wealth and hope of the future, away from the dangers facing them – particularly extremism and violence – and distance them from masterminds of misleading ideas that force them to behave in extraordinary ways that contradict the principles of our Islamic religion and the pillars and values of our Islamic societies.”

 

Vow To Strike Terror Groups

 

King Salman vowed to spare no effort to crush extremists that use misleading messages to entice impressionable young people to join them. “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is determined, God willing, to strike with an iron fist those who target the minds and attitudes of our youth,” he said.

The string of cowardly terrorist attacks that struck Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Bangladesh and Iraq at the end of the holy month of Ramadan have touched once more the hearts and minds of people across the globe, to which we join our sympathy for all the victims and their families. reinforce the determination of the Kingdom and of its allied in the fight against any form of terrorism.

As underlined by the Deputy Minister of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance Tawfiq bin Abdul Aziz Al-Sudairi, the criminal act in Madinah did not take into account the sanctity of the place, the time and innocent lives. In this context, Governor of the Asir region Prince Faisal bin Khalid said the terrorist acts witnessed in Madinah, Jeddah and Qatif have demonstrated the volume of enmity shown by the terrorists against the Kingdom through the violation of the sanctity of the Holy Month of Ramadan and shedding the blood of worshippers in the holiest place.

On behalf of the EU, High Representative Federica Mogherini expressed her sympathies and reiterated the EU’s wish to cooperate to fight terrorism in all its forms.

Now, more than ever, it is incumbent on us to work together to eradicate this scourge, as Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and US Secretary of State discussed yesterday. Through international cooperation it can and will be overcome.

In a briefing today on Saudi Arabia’s counterterrorism efforts, the Ministry of Interior’s security spokesman, Major General Mansour Al-Turki said the Kingdom has been a major target of terrorist organizations, but is determined to defeat it and prevent terrorists from using any resources from Saudi Arabia.

 

“We have faced more than 63 terrorist attacks by Al-Qaeda and ISIL, 26 of them just in the last two years,” said Gen. Al-Turki. “More than 200 citizens and policemen were killed in terrorist attacks. More than 2,800 suspects have been arrested since 2015.”

 

In order to crush terrorism and cut off terror financing, Gen. Al-Turki said the Kingdom has enforced laws to criminalize all terrorist-related activities, including joining, supporting, or recruiting for extremist groups. Saudi Arabia has taken major actions to prevent radicalization and recruiting, and has provided citizens with a phone number to report any suspected terror-related activities.

 

The Kingdom has established a money intelligence department to monitor and investigate any suspected financial transactions. Investigations are typically done in coordination with the Saudi Monetary Agency and the Saudi banks. The Intelligence Security Department within the Ministry of Interior coordinates investigations in order to monitor any abnormal transactions going through bank accounts, and will then freeze the account.

 

“This has led to convicting more than 226 persons of terrorism financing activities, prosecuting more than 240 suspects, freezing and investigating more than 117 suspected bank accounts, closing all unlicensed charity collection locations,” said Gen. Al-Turki.

 

“We have contributed to international community efforts to combat terrorism and its finance through exchanging information,” he said, and said that some of that information had played a major role in “saving lives in other countries.”

 

Gen. Al-Turki also noted that the King Salman Center for Relief and Humanitarian Aid is responsible for any external charitable contributions from Saudi Arabia or Saudi citizens.

 

Saudi Arabia co-chairs the Counter ISIL Finance Group, along with the U.S. and Italy.  The CIFG was established in 2015 to disrupt ISIL’s sources of revenue and its ability to move and use funds to wage its campaign of terror.

EU Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerchove said on Tuesday 25 May that the EU is stepping up its anti-terrorism cooperation with the Arab world and praised the anti-radicalisation programmes in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries such as Saudi Arabia.

During a joint meeting of the European Parliament’s committees on Foreign Affairs and Development, Mr De Kerchove, the EU’s top anti-terror official, explained that more and more countries in the Middle East and North Africa want to engage with the EU in counter-terrorism and deradicalisation programmes.

During the debate , the chair of the Parliament’s Delegation for relations with the Arab Peninsula, Michèle Alliot-Marie asked whether Mr De Kerchove planned exchanges with Gulf countries on the matter given their track record in deradicalisation and their position in the region and religion?”

They have an impressive success rate. We can draw inspiration from their experiences. We want to and do cooperate with Saudi Arabia on many fronts.

In response De Kerchove said “We have much to learn,” and noted that he has visited the Saudi deradicalisation centre in Riyadh. “They have an impressive success rate. We can draw inspiration from their experiences. We want to and do cooperate with Saudi Arabia on many fronts. However, Europe has to define its own model,” he added. “Let us explore with our partner countries in the Arab world how together we can connect our thoughts in the fight against this perversion of Islam and Daesh.”

To address the problem of terrorism at its root, Saudi Arabia in 2005 launched a large-scale national campaign to raise public awareness of the risks of extremist ideology, which continues to this day. Through cooperation, European countries stand to benefit from the Saudi experiences of fighting extremism and radical thought. For instance, there is rich expertise to be tapped from the Prince Mohammed bin Naif Counselling and Care Center which rehabilitates extremists and the Assakina Campaign for Dialogue, which works to correct misinterpretation of Islamic doctrines about violence, reject excess and promote moderation.