Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you for joining us today at the Westminster Counter Terrorism Conference: “De-radicalization and Counterterrorism in a Changing World”.
And thank you to our fellow sponsor of this event — the Royal United Services Institute – it is an honor to be with you today.
We have a rich history of working together, and your work has helped Qatar build a robust international core, which deploys diplomats around the globe.
Recent horrific events around the world have brought the threat of terrorism into sharp focus.
In particular, the United Kingdom has suffered four recent attacks at the hands of terrorism this year alone, and the UK has shown strength with a brave face.
Qatar welcomes the establishment of the UK Commission for Countering Extremism and we look forward to our future cooperation.
As anyone living in London knows all too well, we live in an era of unpredictable terrorist attacks committed by a small group of determined extremists set on inflicting damage and fear on innocent civilians.
Much has been achieved in the battle against global terrorism and violent extremism, but our fight is not over.
Today, people in the UK and around the world continue to question the root causes of terrorism and the solutions to eradicating this cycle of violence with no solution.
This Conference reflects Qatar’s continued desire for nations and organizations of good will to bond together and fight evil ideologies.
Today, we will exchange experiences, knowledge, and enhance global cooperation, working with our existing, and hopefully new partners, in the war against terror.
I come from a region brimming with extremism.
Although the Middle East was once a region of peace and coexistence, it has unfortunately been transformed into a region of turbulence and totalitarianism where extremism flourishes.
We need to learn from history and build on perspective and experience to discover how to end the spread of extremism.
So, who is the enemy? What is the root cause of terrorism?
Tyranny, totalitarianism, aggression, and the absence of justice.
Crises fuel terrorism.
Regional conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa are threatening the lives of 24 million children, most of whom live in Yemen, Iraq, and Syria.
Recent examples of the catastrophes created by evil ideologies can be found across my region: children who have lived through the mass atrocities of the Syrian regime; ISIS in Iraq and Syria; or the war in Yemen are now young adults with little hope for a better future.
It is time for the international community to say, “enough is enough,” with these crises.
We have to work together to end the discord and begin rehabilitating these children.
If we do not act quickly, those desperate children will fall prey to the distorted ideologies of extremism.
What is the solution to ending the cycle of violence and extremism? Resolve, cooperation, and perseverance.
As you know, Qatar, located in a turbulent region, has watched sister nations crumble to tyrannies and terrorists and yet Qatar has managed to rank as one of the safest countries in the world.
It has not been an easy achievement.
For many years, Qatar has stood together with allied nations, like the United Kingdom, in saying ‘enough is enough’ - and Qatar remains resolutely committed to eradicating terrorism of all kinds.
Qatar wants to constantly seek new collective approaches to the global threat of terrorism in a changing world.
In 2004, Qatar took aggressive steps to cut off the flow of finance to terrorists when it issued its first targeted counter-terrorism law, then through its cross-agency Counterterrorism Committee.
Since then we have successfully identified – and prosecuted – individuals and organizations within our borders who are suspected of supporting terrorism, while implementing rule of law and due process.
Qatar has learned that the key to eradicating terrorism and its ideology must be through a holistic approach. By combining tough security measures with more lasting safeguards, we can all succeed.
As crises unfold in our turbulent region, generations of vulnerable men and women are being targeted by extremist groups.
Recruitment for evil ideologies is happening online and across borders, so we have to stay one step ahead of these forces at all times.
Yes, the use of law enforcement and military and intelligence is crucial to countering terrorism.
But we have found that tough security measures are not enough. This approach should be one of many steps.
Internationally, Qatar, set out over a decade ago, to find global partners who shared its commitment to fighting terrorism.
Those alliances are producing results: We are an active member of the Counter-ISIS coalition and host the command center for fighting ISIS.
We are a founding member of both the Global Counterterrorism Forum and the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund.
We have partnered with the United Nations and its agencies in an effort to eradicate all forms of extremism and terrorism.
We aim to complement tough security measures with what we consider to be lasting security measures; these lasting security measures take socio- economic dimensions into consideration.
Therefore, we heavily invested in human potential in cooperation with our allies around the world in providing education and economic development in the MENA region.
Qatar believes that education is a vital tool in peace-building and conflict prevention. That is why Qatar is committed to educating 7 million out-of-school children and provide economic empowerment to almost half a million young men and women in the region.
By doing so, Qatar hopes that young people can lead lives of value, and – ultimately – hope. We strive to combat that hopelessness which provides such fertile ground for extremism.
But education is not enough.
We have to give people a way to support their families and provide them the dignity of work. Qatar has collaborated with the UN Counter-Terrorism Office to enhance employability of young people through capacity-building and launching programs to prevent violent extremism.
We strongly believe that through community resilience, we can counter the spread of terrorism.
That is why Qatar is a founding member of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund (GCERF), the only Arab nation, and will host the upcoming board meeting in December in Doha, Qatar.
To win the war against terror and break the cycle of violence, education is not enough, and employment is not enough.
We must provide stability in the region.
A political commitment must be made to end conflicts in the Middle East and North Africa region.
We must provide realistic hope for a better future for young men and women in the Middle East and throughout the world.
This cycle of violence, perpetrated by individuals seeking power, must end.
Crises do not all happen suddenly.
Populations suffer sustained and ongoing crises when under totalitarian, tyrannical, aggressive leadership.
Rulers who seek power practice bad governance and strip populations of their human rights and dignity.
These populations also fall prey to extremist groups.
To win the war against terror and break the cycle of violence, we must collectively provide education, employment, stability, and more importantly just solutions that provide long-lasting peace.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted that you all joined us…to be able to bring together such an illustrious and high-level group of security experts together…it is inspiring.
Our goals are to examine the current state of extremism and how terrorism is evolving; share ways to end financing and recruitment; and determine how to eliminate extremist ideology.
I look to you all to explore solutions for rooting out extremism, whether extremism stems from aggressive conflict OR from the fruits of enduring totalitarian regimes.
The conference will result in a White Paper and also lead to an immediate short declaration of principles, followed by a comprehensive research report drawing on the conference’s deliberations.
In short, we will showcase the best examples of international cooperation by bringing together practitioners and policy-makers from around the world and learning from each other, which we hope all nations can share to bolster anti-terrorism strategies.
I look forward to the discussion and progress that we will make here, in addressing the challenges of the counter terrorism in a changing world.