The Iman Foundation

Iman Chairman's 9/11 Anniversary message

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Today, fifteen years on from the 9/11 terrorist attacks in America, we must pause to remember what happened on that dark and tragic day.

The world stands united in honour of the memory of the innocent victims who lost their lives. We must also remember those still struggling to deal with the physical and emotional traumas created by the attacks, including the families of those who were killed. I pay tribute to their courage and resilience.

The attacks also struck at the foundations of civilisation and basic decency. We must counter this by challenging extremism and attempting to achieve reconciliation, mutual acceptance and peace in the world.

But we must also recognise that Islamic extremism has not disappeared. In fact, it is thriving and spreading across the world. Today we are facing many extremist groups across the world, including but by no means limited to al-Qaeda. There is also Islamic State, al-Nusra Ahrar al-Sham, Boko Haram, Abu Sayyaf, Jamaah Islamiah, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and many others.

To tackle the threat of terrorism we must not focus on a brand name like al-Qaeda, or Islamic State, or any other group, but rather on the underlying ideology which is the root cause of the problem. If we do not do this, the poisonous and perverted ideology that inspires appalling acts of terror such as 9/11 will continue and all of our efforts against terrorism will have been in vain.

The international community must put their differences aside and come together to tackle the threat of global Islamic extremism at its roots. It must begin by holding all those states, groups and individuals who fund, incite, harbour or otherwise support terrorists to account. We must bring them to justice. And in particular, the West must stop turning a blind eye to the activities of our so-called allies, who continue to spread sectarian hatred and violence throughout the Middle East and the rest of the world on a daily basis.

It is only by doing so that we can prevent such horrors as 9/11 from happening again.

Ribal Al-Assad

Chairman of the Iman Foundation

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