The fight against extremism is a battle between barbaric criminals and decent people, between good and evil, President Donald Trump said in a monumental speech during the Arab-Islamic American Summit in Riyadh today. The summit, Trump said, marks the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its creed.
The President’s statement presents an olive branch to the region, and offers historic policy designed to reset the U.S. position in the Middle East. Trump’s 30-minute speech laid out a vision for the U.S. to move forward with allies in the region, and reinforced America’s commitment to partnering with the Arab world in the fight against terrorism.
The U.S. and the Arab world are closer together than farther apart. President Trump’s historic speech clarified the U.S.’s role, and willingness as a partner in the fight against terrorism—not a battle against Islam. Yet the U.S. cannot lead in this battle alone.
“It’s a choice between two futures, but it’s a choice America cannot make for you,” Trump said. “A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terror and extreme… Drive them out of this Earth.”
Trump Calls for Collective Action
Trump called on religious leaders to fulfill their share of the burden, and crush the violence encouraged by radical interpretations of Islam. “Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory – piety to evil will bring you no dignity.”
He further stressed that Muslim majority countries must take the lead in combating radicalization, and praised King Salman for his “incredible and powerful leadership.” The President thanked King Salman for his partnership with the U.S., and for fostering a thriving spirit in the Kingdom itself. These are the foundations needed to drive the world toward peace, and set an example to the world of the decisive action nations can take to confront “this deadly terror.”
Without it, the future will bring only suffering and despair, Trump said. Destroying terror presents the only solution to inspire greatness for the global civilization.
Today, the President joined King Salman in signing a MOU for a Terrorist Financing Targeting Center, co-chaired by the U.S. and Saudi Arabia and joined by every GCC member. The leaders will later inaugurate a counter-terrorism center to counter the “online spread of hate.”
President Trump thanked Saudi leaders for the gracious welcome and charted the long-standing legacy among the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. “We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship,” Trump said. “Today we begin a new chapter that will bring lasting benefits to all of our citizens.”