ROME - ''Since there is no explanation for terrorism in the traditional doctrines of Sunni and Shia Islam, why do many terrorists raise the banner of Islam today?'' Saudi ambassador to Italy Rayed Krimly told ANSA that the answer was in political factors and that defeating terrorism requires ''winning over the hearts and minds of people. This is where religious, political and civil'' society leaders have a strategic role to play. In speaking to ANSA ahead of a seminar he will be holding entitled 'Religion and Terrorism: Various Perspectives' on Thursday at the Grand Mosque of Rome, Krimly noted that ''in less than four decades, we have seen a tsunami of wars and invasions by superpowers''.
''From the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-1989) to the Iran-Iraq conflict (1980-1988), from the US war in Afghanistan to the US embargo against Iraq and the subsequent occupation of the country to the Syrian conflict, which is still continuing. Millions of dead and thousands of displaced,'' he said.
The diplomat added that another important political factor, are the ''socio-economic failures of military and single-party dictatorships. As a result, millions of Arabs and Muslims took to the streets, demanding greater opportunities and better governance. Not even once did they consider today's terrorists as their leaders. Even in the middle of these upsets, most Muslims remained moderate and rejected extremism.'' The legitimate aspirations of Arabs and Muslims, Krimly said, cannot be satisfied by sectarian militias or terrorist groups. ''They will be satisfied only by moderates able to build inclusive political systems.'' If we want to help terrorists win, he warned, ''then we can do one of three things: dig a ditch between Muslims and the rest of humanity, in this way ensuring that terrorists are seen as the legitimate defenders of Islam; turn a blind eye and let brutal dictators like Bashar Al-Assad continue committing massacres and wipe out his own population in Syria; or entrust a specific sort of terrorist - such as sectarian militias - to fight another type of terrorists, such as ISIS, and in so doing make most Sunni communities a recruitment pool for the terrorists''.
Arabs and Muslims cannot and must not wait for others to do the right thing, he said, since they are the main victims of terrorism and it is their battle. This, he said, is the reason why Saudi Arabia - victim for decades of numerous terrorist attacks, many of which ordered by Iran (as Riyadh has long said), Al-Qaeda and (since 2015) ISIS - set up the Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT).
Krimly said that ''Muslims clearly need to come to terms with modernity. They are not the only victims of world history. They should trust in their faith enough to welcome - instead of reject - innovation and modern progress.'' Taking part in Thursday's meeting will be Professor Olivier Roy, head of the Mediterranean program of the European University Institute of Florence, Franco Cardini, professor emeritus of medieval history and teacher at the Istituto di Scienze Umane e Sociali in Florance and the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, and Andrea Margelletti, head of Ce.SI. Centro Studi internazionali.