The real nature of terrorist organizations is not Muslim, but a cult psychology which has borrowed Islamic language to propagate perverted messages to justify their actions, said Saudi Ambassador to Britain at a counter-terrorism conference organized by Dubai-based Gulf Research Center (GRC) over the weekend.
Attended by key British government officials and terrorism experts, as well as high-level Arab and Muslim delegates and academics, the workshop was initiated by the GRC in response to the July 7 terror attacks in London.
"This terrorism is not based on Islam, but is a perverted cult ideology. Its followers have absented themselves from normal society, from the human family, and placed themselves outside reality to live out fantasies that have nothing to do with the real world," said Prince Turki Al Faisal, who will soon take over as the Saudi Ambassador in the US.
"It is a terrorist cult, not a classic terrorist organization like the IRA or ETA," he added.
The one-day workshop titled "Confronting Terror: Promoting the Arab-British Partnership" was meant to facilitate greater collaboration between the Muslim World and the West in the fight against terror.
The workshop aimed to provide a substantive and institutional Arab/Muslim response to the terror attacks, both in terms of expressing solidarity with the British government and people in combating terror and also, in outlining new ideas to tackle the phenomenon.
In his opening remarks, the GRC Chairman, Abdulaziz Sager stated that the meeting aimed "to pass on a message of solidarity coming from the heart of the Arab and Muslim world."
"It aims to share with the British people and British government their revulsion at this act and to say that there can be no religious, moral, or political justification for the murder of innocent people," he noted.
During the first two sessions, the participants dealt with the responses of both the British and Arab governments to the crisis.
British officials and academics stressed that the war against terror must be fought on several fronts -- military, financial, intelligence sharing, as well as the important battle to win hearts and minds in the Muslim world.
While Arab officials concurred with Prince Turki's assessment and called for more responsible and direct leadership from the Muslim communities in the West, Arab academics and Middle East experts called on the Arab and Muslim world to focus on root causes of terrorism at home, including improving the educational system and allowing for greater civil liberties and political participation.
The last two sessions discussed the practical elements of combating terror, including an in-depth discussion of recruitment to terrorist cells in Britain, as well as future intelligence co-operation between the West and the Arab and Muslim world.
The workshop highlighted some important areas of the ongoing debate, including the consequences of the terror attacks on the immigrant community in Britain, the importance of Arab-British ties in light of the shared threats posed by terrorism and the need for the West to tackle some of the root causes of terrorism as part of the battle ahead to win over hearts and minds.
The conflict in Iraq and the subsequent debacle there have had a huge impact on the recruitment of terrorists, the participants said while concluding that foreign policy in the West will play a big part of the future war against terror.
Courtesy Gulf Today