Much effort put in to fight extremism

We refer to The Straits Times editorial (Don't pour oil on Middle East flames; July 26).

The editorial makes reference to the ancient Persian civilisation but fails to mention the terrorist actions being perpetrated by Iran in many parts of the world today.

Had it done so, readers would have a clearer picture of the state that is really behind some of the unrest in the world.

Saudi Arabia has put in much effort to fight extremism and terrorism.

For instance, it has contributed to the establishment and support of many centres as well as international and regional conferences to address this scourge.

Its efforts in combating extremist ideology have inspired many countries to work onthe rehabilitation of extremists.

Saudi Arabia has also worked on strengthening security cooperation with countries in this region.

The recent visit by Prince Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Naif, the Saudi Minister of Interior, to Singapore and the region is an example of this.

As for Iran, it should perhaps take its cue from the recent summit in Singapore between the US and North Korea.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un found out that the best way to defuse tension with the United States is to sit at the negotiating table and focus on strengthening the economic and social development of his country's people.

In the Middle East, it is the Iranian regime that is fanning violence, issuing hostile statements and threatening the safety of maritime navigation in the Strait of Hormuz and Bab el-Mandeb.

Its hostile actions include: the targeting of two Saudi oil tankers in Bab el-Mandeb strait in the Red Sea with missiles through the Houthi terrorist militias, the arm of the Iranian regime in Yemen; and the threat of closing the Strait of Hormuz in the Arabian Gulf.

Statements in your editorial like "... the reality that much of the extremist troubles the world faces, including in South-east Asia, has roots not in Iran but in the Salafi ideology that used to radiate from Saudi Arabia" are unfounded.

Such insinuations affect Singapore's policy of neutrality and its ambition to establish Singapore as an international hub for the resolution of global disputes.

The phenomenon of religious extremism leading to terrorism is a complicated phenomenon that cannot be reduced to a particular religion or country.

Religious extremism can be found in all societies and beliefs.

Alauddin Khudair

First Secretary

Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia

Singapore

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 04, 2018, with the headline 'Much effort put in to fight extremism'. Print Edition | Subscribe