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Concerted int’l efforts must to root out terrorism: Saudi King

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Mina, Oct 6 (PTI) Describing terrorism as a “rotten element” that must be amputated, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah has called for concerted international efforts to fight and defeat the scourge which has nothing to do with Islam.

“Terrorism is neither attached to Islam nor to all other heavenly religions. It is a rotten element, which has no remedy to it except amputation,” the King said in an address to Haj pilgrims which was read out by Crown Prince Salman, deputy premier and minister of defence.

“Extremism, which has generated terrorism, behoves us to combine our efforts to fight it and defeat it because it has nothing to do with Islam,” he said.

Saudi Arabia and four other Arab countries — Bahrain, Jordan, Qatar and the UAE — have joined a US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS) militant group, which has made rapid territorial gains in Iraq and Syria and executed four foreigners which have been condemned by Muslims worldwide.

“With Allah’s grace we are restlessly going to amputate it in order to protect our youth from engaging in extremist ideas and narrow self-interests, rather than decent Islamic brotherhood,” he said.

The 90-year-old King said yesterday that the kingdom “will continue its efforts in fighting terrorism and extremism. We shall not rest till we eradicate them along with the misguided sect that has used the Islamic religion as bridge to achieve its personal interests, and unlawfully stigmatizes the beauty of Islam with their misleading thought.”

Saudi Arabia?declared the IS, also known as?ISIS or ISIL,?a terrorist organisation in March and stepped up denunciations of the group.

US-led air strikes on the group has allowed some of the lost territory to be recaptured, but the well-armed militants continue to make gains in Iraq and Syria.

Last week, Saudi jets pounded militant targets in Syria.

Crown Prince Salman read out the King’s message during a reception in Mina, which was attended by Sudanese President Omar Bashir, Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mahmoud, Bangladesh President Mohammed Abdul Hamid, Maldives President Abdulla Yameen, representatives of foreign Haj missions, including leader of Indian Haj Delegation Arif Beg and Indian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Hamid Ali Rao.

In his keynote address, King Abdullah emphasised on Islamic teachings and values that urge Muslims to live in peace with other sects.

The royal address occurred in Mina, where two million Muslim pilgrims from around the world engaged in a ritualised stoning of the devil yesterday, the second-last day of the annual Haj.

In his annual sermon at Arafat on Friday, Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Sheikh had said the enemies of Muslim nations are trying to spread “chaos and confusion.”

The thrust of his address was on Islam’s moderation and tolerance as well as the religion’s unequivocal position against extremism and terrorism.

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