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Muslims in the world denounce extremism

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Arab nations are right to join fight against ISIL

Arab nations are right to join fight against ISIL

In many ways, the involvement of so many Arab countries in the battle against ISIL is a defining moment. In another sense, however, it is merely a natural response to the context of the modern Middle East.

To have five Arab countries – Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Qatar – as part of the coalition is defining, because it represents a real change to how this region has previously conducted its affairs. Certainly, it is a change to have it so closely involved in air strikes on another Arab nation – although at this stage, it is unknown precisely in what capacity Jordan and some of the GCC countries are participating.

But the Middle East has changed rapidly in the past few years. Not merely because of the Arab Spring, of course, but also because of the US’s disconnection from the region. While the superpower still pays lip-service to being closely involved in the Middle East – and, of course, US warships still patrol the Arabian Gulf – in reality, there is a gradual disconnection.

At the same time, the threats the region faces do not respect borders or nations. The Muslim Brotherhood, for example, which won power in Egypt and influence in other Arab Spring countries, sought not merely the domination of Egypt but intended to extend its influence to other Arab countries. The same can be said for ISIL, which does not respect the borders of Iraq or Syria, and threatens Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

And, of course, the chaos of the Syrian civil war has flooded neighbouring countries like Lebanon and Jordan with refugees, destabilising them, and Iraq’s instability is bleeding across the border into Turkey.

This is why the UAE’s foreign minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, speaking to the United Nations Security Council last week, reiterated that international efforts are needed, not merely against ISIL, but across ongoing conflicts in Yemen, North Africa, East Africa and elsewhere.

These threats are either in Arab nations or in the backyard of the region. It is right, therefore, that the Sunni Arab countries play an important role in combating these threats. As this newspaper wrote yesterday, the importance of moderate, prosperous Arab countries such as the UAE in taking part in the attack against ISIL should not be underestimated: it sends a strong message that their barbaric philosophy has nothing to do with Islam and doesn’t reflect the civilisation of the Arabs – and nor does it reflect the future aspirations of most of the Middle East.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/editorial/arab-nations-are-right-to-join-fight-against-isil#ixzz3Eh8Vdf7R
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Military containment is only a partial solution to ISIL’s evils

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid: Military containment is only a partial solution to ISIL’s evils

The global financial crisis taught the world how profoundly interdependent our economies have become. In today’s crisis of extremism, we must recognise that we are just as interdependent for our security, as is clear in the current struggle to defeat ISIL.

If we are to prevent ISIL from teaching us this lesson the hard way, we must acknowledge that we cannot extinguish the fires of fanaticism by force alone. The world must unite behind a holistic drive to discredit the ideology that gives the extremists their power, and to restore hope and dignity to those whom they would recruit.

ISIL certainly can – and will – be defeated militarily by the international coalition that is now assembling and which the UAE is actively supporting. But military containment is only a partial solution. Lasting peace requires three bigger ingredients: winning the intellectual battle, upgrading weak governance and grassroots human development.

Such a solution must begin with concerted international political will. Not a single politician in North America, Europe, Africa, or Asia can afford to ignore events in the Middle East. A globalised threat requires a globalised response. Everyone will feel the heat, because such flames know no borders. Indeed, ISIL has recruited members of at least 80 nationalities.

ISIL is a barbaric and brutal organisation. It represents neither Islam nor humanity’s most basic values. Nonetheless, it has emerged, spread and resisted those who oppose it. What we are fighting is not just a terrorist organisation, but the embodiment of a malicious ideology that must be defeated intellectually.

I consider this ideology to be the greatest danger that the world will face in the next decade. Its seeds are growing in Europe, the United States, Asia and elsewhere. With its twisted religious overtones, this prepackaged franchise of hate is available for any terrorist group to adopt. It carries the power to mobilise thousands of desperate, vindictive, or angry young people and use them to strike at the foundations of civilisation.

The ideology fuelling ISIL has much in common with that of Al Qaeda and its affiliates in Nigeria, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Somalia, Yemen, North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. What most worries me is that a decade ago, such an ideology was all that Al Qaeda needed to destabilise the world, even from a primitive base in the caves of Afghanistan. Today, under ISIL, adherents have access to technology, finance, a huge land base and an international jihadist network. Far from being defeated, their ideology of rage and hate has become stricter, more pernicious and more widespread.

The destruction of terrorist groups is not enough to bring lasting peace. We must also strike at the root to deprive their dangerous ideology of the power to rise again among people left vulnerable by an environment of hopelessness and desperation. And, on this note, let us be positive.

The solution has three components. The first is to counter malignant ideas with enlightened thinking, open minds and an attitude of tolerance and acceptance. This approach arises from our Islamic religion, which calls for peace, honours life, values dignity, promotes human development and directs us to do good to others.

Only one thing can stop a suicidal youth who is ready to die for ISIL: a stronger ideology that guides him onto the right path and convinces him that God created us to improve our world, not to destroy it. Credit is due to our neighbours in Saudi Arabia in this field for their successes in de-radicalising many young people through counselling centres and programmes. In this battle of minds, it is thinkers and scientists of spiritual and intellectual stature among Muslims who are best placed to lead the charge.

The second component is support for governments’ efforts to create stable institutions that can deliver real services to their people. It should be clear to everyone that the rapid growth of ISIL was fuelled by two governments’ failings: the first one made war on its own people, and the second one promoted sectarian division. When governments fail to address instability, legitimate grievances and persistent serious challenges, they create an ideal environment for hateful ideologies to incubate – and for terrorist organisations to fill the vacuum of legitimacy.

The final component is to address urgently the black holes in human development that afflict many areas of the Middle East. This is not only an Arab responsibility, but also an international responsibility, because providing grassroots opportunity and a better quality of life for the people of this region is guaranteed to ameliorate our shared problems of instability and conflict. We have a critical need for long-term projects and initiatives to eliminate poverty, improve education and health, build infrastructure, and create economic opportunities. Sustainable development is the most sustainable answer to terrorism.

Our region is home to more than 200 million young people. We have the opportunity to inspire them with hope and to direct their energies toward improving their lives and the lives of those around them. If we fail, we will abandon them to emptiness, unemployment and the malicious ideologies of terrorism.

Every day that we take a step towards delivering economic development, creating jobs, and raising standards of living, we undermine the ideologies of fear and hate that feed on hopelessness. We starve terrorist organisations of their reason to exist.

I am optimistic, because I know that the people of the Middle East possess a power of hope and a desire for stability and prosperity that are stronger and more enduring than opportunistic and destructive ideas. There is no power stronger than that of hope for a better life.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum is Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai

 

 

Restoring hope is key to beating the extremists

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There can be no doubt that rise of the extremist Islamist group ISIL poses a serious threat to the region, and there can be no doubt that the leadership in this country is addressing that challenge in an appropriate manner. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Abdullah, told the United National General Assembly at the weekend that the country was committed to combating “violent extremism and affiliated beliefs and terrorist acts”. To this end, the UAE has joined a coalition of countries, including the US and four Arab neighbours, in conducting air attacks on ISIL strongholds in Iraq and Syria.

But, as Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, pointed out in an opinion article published in The National yesterday, force alone will not rid us of fanaticism. He said: “The world must unite behind a holistic drive to discredit the ideology that gives the extremists their power, and to restore hope and dignity to those whom they would recruit.”

He added that lasting peace would be achieved through three channels: winning the intellectual battle by countering the extremists’ malignant ideas with enlightened thinking, upgrading weak governance across the region by establishing stable institutions, and promoting initiatives to eliminate poverty, improve education and health, and create economic opportunities for all people.

The UAE has so often led the way in the Gulf and the wider region. In just under 43 years, this union of emirates has leveraged its natural resources and intellectual capital to provide opportunities not just for its own citizens, but for people from around the region and the world. Many have shared in, and helped create, a level of prosperity and stability that is the envy of the world. A philosophy of moderation and tolerance has created a country where people of 200 nationalities, and of different faiths, live and work alongside each other.

But we should not take any of this for granted. The UAE is a beacon of stability in an unstable region, but it is not immune to the influence of those who would pervert religion and radicalise others for selfish gain. The template for action outlined by Sheikh Mohammed rightly goes beyond the immediate goal of defeating ISIL. It involves eliminating the root causes of extremism and providing people across the region real opportunities that the ideologically bankrupt extremists cannot match.

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/opinion/editorial/restoring-hope-is-key-to-beating-the-extremists#ixzz3Eh72IAjY
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UAE’s female fighter pilot leads airstrikes against ISIL

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Our salute for her and leader ship at UAE.

National Buddhist Authority

UAE’s female fighter pilot leads airstrikes against ISIL

Yousef Al Otaiba, the UAE’s ambassador to the United States, confirmed on Thursday that the country’s first female fighter pilot was involved in recent action against ISIL.

He discussed the UAE’s commitment in combating ISIL and fighting extremism on the live-broadcast American television show Morning Joe, a weekday morning talk show on MSNBC.

Mr Al Otaiba also confirmed that Major Mariam Al Mansouri, 35, an F-16 pilot, will lead the air strike missions on ISIL.

“I can officially confirm that the UAE strike mission on Monday night was led by female fighter pilot Mariam Al Mansouri,” he said.

“She is a fully qualified, highly trained, combat-ready pilot and she is on a mission.”

The UAE, along with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Qatar, Bahrain and the United States have allied to launch a series of air strikes against members of ISIL in Syria to combat extremists.

During the show, Mr Al Otaiba said: “We will bring whatever it takes to defeat ISIS [ISIL] and other forms of extremism.”

Mr Al Otaiba said it was important for Arab and Muslim states to stand against ISIL and to see them as the threat they were.

“I think it’s important for us moderate Arabs, moderate Muslims, to step up and say, ‘this is a threat against us’,” he said. “This is more of a threat to us than it is to ISIL. This is a threat to our country, a threat to our way of life.”

Maj Al Mansouri has an undergraduate degree in English literature and is the first woman to join the Khalifa bin Zayed Air College, graduating in 2008.

Her participation in the raid stirred a debate on social media, with supporters posting her picture on Twitter and commending her service.

newsdesk@thenational.ae

* with reporting by Agence France-Presse

newsdesk@thenational.ae

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/uae/government/uaes-female-fighter-pilot-leads-airstrikes-against-isil?utm_source=Communicator&utm_medium=Email&utm_content=&utm_campaign=%20Iraqi%20politicians%20plot%20raising%20a%20militia%20to%20take%20back%20Mosul#ixzz3Eh1klIj8
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