BEIRUT: Progressive Socialist Party leader MP Walid Jumblatt called in remarks published Saturday for an inter-Arab dialogue with Turkey and Iran to combat the rise of terrorism, which he said was the result of an incorrect understanding of Islam.
"What is needed is to launch dialogue between concerned Arab countries in this regard led by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with Iran and Turkey to eliminate this terrorism that is committing crimes in the name of Islam and destroying Arab and Muslim diversity as it forces Christians to immigrate,” Jumblatt told Al-Mustaqbal.
"This is a dangerous and unacceptable matter, which should prompt us to quickly look into the roots of this phenomenon that arose as a result of an incorrect understanding taught in schools.”
Jumblatt also called for a comprehensive evaluation of education and religious curriculums taught in schools in all Arab countries.
“[We should] modernize the Islamic thinking so we can put an end to the rise of new generations that would be raised on violence and incorrect religious understanding.”
In his interview with the local daily, Jumblatt also praised Friday's speech by Saudi King Abdullah, who condemned Islamist extremists who he said had besmirched Islam by committing atrocities in the name of religion and spoke out against “international silence” over the war in Gaza.
Jumblatt said the Saudi monarch had always been at the forefront of combating terrorism and recalled the king’s call for the establishment of a Riyadh-based international center to combat terrorism.
In his Friday address, Abdullah urged the region’s leaders and religious scholars to prevent Islam from being “hijacked” by militants and expressed his disappointment over the lack of any follow-up from other countries to his proposal two years ago to establish the center.
Abdullah also condemned international silence over Israel’s offensive, saying it qualified as a war crime and “state-sponsored terrorism.”
“We see the blood of our brothers in Palestine shed in collective massacres that have excluded no one, and war crimes against humanity without scruples, humanity or morality,” Abdullah said.
Jumblatt also spoke about the conflict in Gaza, which has killed more than 1,000 Palestinians, saying "we should swiftly work to put an end to this tragic humanitarian crisis that Gaza residents are facing as a result of Israel's terrorism."