“Qatar is unfortunately breaking Arab ranks, and is deliberately spreading sedition through its media outlet, Al Jazeera…”
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has spared no effort in fighting the phenomenon of terrorism and in cooperating with concerned parties regionally and internationally…”
“There is no room for complacency or silence today in the face of this clear and present danger threatening our people, societies and countries…”
“We trust that everyone will act responsibly, and focus on saving the lives of innocent people instead of saving face…”
– Saudi Minister of Culture and Information
JEDDAH, July 13, 2017 – Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture and Information, His Excellency Dr. Awwad Alawwad, has waged a blistering attack on Qatar, saying its Gulf Arab neighbor should end its support and financing of terrorism and should stop using its media outlets to give a platform to terrorists and extremists.
Dr. Alawwad, in a powerful speech to the 48th session of the Council of Arab Ministers of Information held on Wednesday at the headquarters of the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States in Cairo, said, “Your excellencies, the State of Qatar is unfortunately breaking Arab ranks, and is deliberately spreading sedition through its media outlet, Al Jazeera. We need to take a serious stand to prevent it from continuing to commit this criminal act.”
His Excellency Alawwad pointed out that “the efforts to combat terrorism will not succeed if someone within our ranks is supporting and feeding it, compromising our security and that of the region and the world at large.
NETWORK FOR EVIL
“Al Jazeera is not, as the Qatari brothers claim, all about freedom of expression – everyone, including us, knows what freedom of expression is – rather, it’s about a network for evil that plants sedition and supports terrorism and extremism, causing destruction and distorting values to serve agendas that are hostile to peace.”
“While the regime in Qatar claims that Al Jazeera provides a platform for all opinions, the channel has never criticized Qatar; instead, it serves as a mouthpiece for Qatar and a channel to attack others,” the Minister added.
“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through this platform, insists on the inevitability that Qatar cease its support and funding of terrorism and shut down its media outlets that promote terrorism.
He said that the Kingdom calls on all media outlets, whether inside or outside Qatar, which have hosted Al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman Al Zawahiri, and others, and “introduced them to our children as heroes while in truth they are criminals, to stop promoting violence and extremism and interfering in the internal affairs of other countries.”
Alawwad said that there were many issues to be discussed at the meeting that the Arab information ministers need to solve. “However, this particular issue is an absolute priority for us. We trust that everyone will act responsibly, and focus on saving the lives of innocent people instead of saving face,” the Minister said.
ARAB MEDIA PLAYS KEY ROLE
The Minister said the Arab media’s role in combating terrorism is one of the most important issues to be discussed at the meeting.
“We need to treat this disease that has destroyed people and property in so many countries,” the Minister added.
“Arab media has a pivotal role to play in fighting terrorism, highlighting its destructiveness, and preventing our societies and people from falling prey to it.”
“Last year saw multiple terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of innocent people, both in the Arab world and elsewhere. That’s why Arab media carries grave responsibility to protect innocent people, by implementing programmes that raise awareness of the problem and educating the public on how to get rid of this dangerous and destructive disease.”
KINGDOM’S EFFORTS TO FIGHT TERRORISM
Alawwad stressed that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has spared no effort in fighting the phenomenon of terrorism and in cooperating with concerned parties regionally and internationally to prevent it from expanding ideologically, financially and in the media
The Kingdom’s fight with terrorism dates back to 1995 when the Olaya attack in Riyadh killed dozens of people and the 1996 Al Khobar attack in the Eastern Region in which “even more innocent victims lost their lives,” he said in his speech.
His Excellency added that “Saudi Arabia continuously exerts efforts in combating terrorism and sparing lives.”
In 2005, Saudi Arabia hosted an international conference on combating terrorism, in 2011, the Kingdom set up the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center, while under King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the Kingdom set up the anti-terrorism Islamic military alliance, the Minister noted.
“Since terrorism is directly related to the propagation of extremism, the Kingdom launched a new initiative to fight the roots of extremist ideology by setting up the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, Etidal.”
His Excellency addressed the Arab information ministers by saying “In addition to all these efforts, a unified Arab position is needed to combat this scourge of terrorism and to take all necessary steps to prevent activities that lead to it or help promote it. There is no room for complacency or silence today in the face of this clear and present danger threatening our people, societies and countries.”