Before President Trump delivered his first big international speech, an address in Saudi Arabia to dozens of Arab leaders, reports swirled that he would not utter the words “radical Islamic terror.”
Of course he said the words — repeatedly — and much more. He lectured the Saudis on human rights, including the nation’s long repression of women.
And most of all, he laid out — in simple black and white terms — the real battle that is has been raging for two decades.
“This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations,” Trump told some 50 Muslim leaders gathered in an ornate conference center in Riyadh. “This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it. This is a battle between good and evil.”
And Trump said the Muslim world has an obligation — even a moral imperative — to squelch terror emanating from the Muslim faith.
“Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith,” Trump said. “That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.”
And Trump appeared to give the Muslim leaders a direct order about the terrorists who declare their Muslim faith demands they kill infidels.
“Drive them out!” Trump said.
“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!”
Unlike former president Barack Obama, who drew a red line in Syria and then did nothing when Islamic extremists crossed it, Trump said, “There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it, and no ignoring it.”
He added, “If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing, then we not only will be judged by our people, not only will be judged by history, but we will be judged by God.”
Trump said that moving toward peace “means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires.
And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.
“Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory – piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and your soul will be condemned,” Trump said.
“And if the world doesn’t unite to fight ISIS, al-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas and other groups, he said, ‘not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, we will be judged by God.’
Other excepts from the speech:
We are adopting a principled realism, rooted in common values and shared interests.
Our friends will never question our support, and our enemies will never doubt our determination. Our partnerships will advance security through stability, not through radical disruption. We will make decisions based on real-world outcomes – not inflexible ideology. We will be guided by the lessons of experience, not the confines of rigid thinking. And, wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms – not sudden intervention.
Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God.
America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens. 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. Instead, we are here to offer partnership – based on shared interests and values – to pursue a better future for us all.
Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.
But we can only overcome this evil if the forces of good are united and strong – and if everyone in this room does their fair share and fulfills their part of the burden.
Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land.
America is prepared to stand with you – in pursuit of shared interests and common security.
But the nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them. The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries, and for their children.