Trump condemns 'Islamic extremism' in speech to Muslim leaders

United States President Donald Trump urged leaders of Muslim countries to fight what he described as "Islamic extremism."
By Adam Widmer | May 22, 2017
United States President Donald Trump urged leaders of Muslim countries to fight what he described as "Islamic extremism."

Trump's speech on Sunday suggested a tough stance on terror that nonetheless attempts to soften the anti-Muslim rhetoric of his campaign for the presidency.

During his presidential campaign, Trump criticized President Obama for refusing to utter the words "radical Islamic terrorism." Obama said that the phrase would only serve to alienate the Muslim allies that the United States most needs to combat terrorism.

In a beautiful conference in Riyadh, and speaking to a group of leaders from 50 Islamic nations, the president urged Muslims to confront "the crisis of Islamic terrorism and the Islamist and Islamic terror of all kinds."

Trump said that means "standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians."

Speaking at the Arab Islamic American Summit, Trump said that religious leaders must make it clear that barbarism will never deliver glory, and "piety to evil will bring you no dignity."

Trump urged the people of the Middle East to decide what kind of future they want for themselves nd their children, adding that a better future is only possible if the region's nations drive out the terrorists and extremists.

But the president also dismissed the "clash of civilizations" rhetoric espoused by some of his more nationalistic advisers such as chief strategist Steve Bannon, who has called Islam "the most radical religion" in the world.

"This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations," Trump said, adding that the war on terror is a fight against barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life in the name of religion.

White House officials said that different teams of speechwriter had been working on many as five different drafts of the speech.

Trump then worked to reconcile those different ideas into his address.

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