INDONESIAN President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will both attend an anti-terrorism forum of predominantly Muslim leaders in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh, where they will be joined by US President Donald Trump.
More than 50 heads of state of Muslim-majority nations and security experts will attend the so-called Riyadh Forum on Countering Extremism and Fighting Terrorism on Sunday, sponsored by the 34-member Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism.
Pakistan’s PM Nawaz Sharif and the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah will also be in attendance.
With Riyadh the first stop on his first overseas trip as President, Trump is set to sign off on a US$10 billion deal to supply arms to Saudi Arabia, reports The Financial Times.
Through what is one of the biggest arms deals in history, he hopes to help establish an “Arab NATO” to combat Iran. Trump will also deliver a speech about how to combat radical Islam, just a month after calling for a “total and complete shutdown” of Muslims entering the US.
“This summit will show President Trump that all Islamic countries have nothing to do with IS,” The Saudi ambassador to Indonesia Osama bin Mohammed Abdullah Al Shuaibi told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.
“They do not represent Islam. We are fighting these people and they deceive our people, our youth, into fighting with them.”
Delegates will reportedly discuss the future of terrorism, the spread of extremism through social media and the links between terrorism and corruption.
“We must ensure that the barbarism we see in Syria and Iraq is rooted out,” argues Najib in an op-ed to be published in English in the Saudi Gazette on Sunday. “We must show that we stand ready to confront terror swiftly and decisively wherever and whenever it manifests itself. We must never surrender.”
“We know that President Donald Trump is committed to eradicating the Islamic State. Under my leadership, so will Malaysia be – as should all Muslim countries at this summit and beyond,” he said.
While the leaders of Indonesia and Malaysia have been reserved in their comments about Trump, the president’s incendiary rhetoric about Islam has aroused anger among many in the Southeast Asian Muslim-majority nations.
Moreover, a recent study showed that the President’s tacit endorsement of Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs had tarnished the image of the United States in the region.
Nevertheless, US Vice President Mike Pence praised Indonesia’s “inspiration to the world” during a state visit to Jakarta last month. “In your nation as in mine, religion unifies, it doesn’t divide,” he said.
Trump and Pence have committed to attending the ASEAN summit in November, visiting Vietnam and the Philippines, in what is the fiftieth anniversary of the regional organisation.
On Sunday, leaders in Ridayh will also attend the inauguration of the Global Centre for Combating Extremist Ideologies.
“Authentic Islam is a religion of enlightenment, civilisation and scholarship, not of destruction and death,” added Najib.