The Challenge of Terrorism for the Arab World

  • 9 September 2014

The communiqué issued following the meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo recently expressed profound awareness of terrorism being a major challenge facing the Arab world and the need for a comprehensive vision to deal with it. The most notable part of the statement was that it outlined a number of basic elements related to Arab world’s strategy in dealing with extremist and terrorist groups, not just the ISIS but all such organizations.

ISIS is currently the biggest terror threat which is resorting to extremely violent means to achieve its objectives. The threat posed by this organization transcends geographical boundaries and extends to the entire region and the whole world. It is hence extremely important to act against all such groups that seek to use violence and intimidation to impose their version of extremism, fanaticism and intolerance by misusing religion.

There is need for a comprehensive view, beyond just security, to deal with this threat. The Arab foreign ministers’ statement emphasized the need to take measures at political, security, legal and intellectual levels to counter the spread of terrorism. It stressed that this is a complex phenomenon and needs a comprehensive approach because half measures have not succeeded over the years in rooting it out. International cooperation also needs to complement with local and regional efforts.

Awareness is growing in the Arab world about the fact that terrorism is a global phenomenon and that it has no religion, nationality or geographic identity. Addressing terrorism hence needs a coordinated global response. This was also highlighted recently in a Ministry of Foreign Affairs statement, which called for further cooperation in this fight. Success can only be achieved through a clear strategy that classifies these groups on the basis of their ideologies, approaches and acts of violence and are not confined to Iraq and Syria.

Given that the whole world needs a firm and decisive strategy against such groups, which are turning into a major threat to global security and stability, Arabs and Muslims demand increasingly strong position in this regard especially because these elements use Islam to justify their evil acts. Their actions have nothing to do with the true faith of Islam. There is need for cooperation, dialog and coexistence among human beings so that the image of Arabs and followers of the Islamic faith do not get tarnished and bloodshed is stopped.