Despite his earlier rigid stance on Islam, Donald Trump spoke about the religion in a very soft tone during his Saudi Arabia visit.
Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia marks the beginning of a new chapter in the president's fight against terrorism. His speech before a gathering of numerous Arab kings and ministers from Muslim countries showed that he was now on a mission to rally the support of the Arab world in the fight against terrorism. Trump’s visit to Saudi is his first stop in a tour that includes Israel, Vatican City and Italy. Saudi’s King Salman hosted the event at King Abdul Aziz International Conference Center.
Trump spoke about how religion is being used to cover up violence and how terrorism has no place in Islam. The president said he believed a united effort by the U.S. and Arab countries can go a long way in effectively rooting out terrorism. He strongly implored the Muslim leaders to "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,” promising the full support of the U.S. in their efforts.
Trump’s speech is seen to be a very drastic departure from what he used to say earlier. From saying that Islam hated the U.S., to now seeking the help of Arab countries as his allies, the focus of the president has clearly undergone a major change. However, he did say certain things that could be perceived as a reminder of the president’s traditional stand on Muslims, such as “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.” He also said that “religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory — piety to evil will bring you no dignity,” which would undoubtedly sound to many as though he is accusing Muslim religious leaders as having played at least an indirect role in promoting religious extremism.
— Kiran Kumar S (@KiranKS) May 22, 2017
The speech also included a request to the attendee to isolate Iran, something which Saudi graciously accepted, perhaps because as a Sunni nation, the Shiite Iran poses some level of challenge to its authority in the Middle East. Trump will be going to Israel next, where he will pray at the Western Wall and the Church of the Sepulchre, followed by a private audience with the pope. Finally, he will be in Sicily for the NATO meeting.
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- Washington Post