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Egypt's Azhar says Saudi decision to form Islamic military alliance 'historic'

The 34-state coalition contains a long list of Arab as well as African countries such as Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, together with Islamic countries Turkey, Malaysia, and Pakistan

Ahram Online , Tuesday 15 Dec 2015
Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb
File Photo: Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, Grand Imam of Al-Azhar Egypt, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015. (AP)
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Views: 4815

Egypt’s highest Sunni authority, Al-Azhar, welcomed on Tuesday Saudi Arabia’s decision to form an Islamic military coalition to combat terrorism, describing it as “historic.”

In a statement published on its website, Al-Azhar said it has repeatedly called for such a coalition, calling on all Muslim countries to join it to fight terrorism in all its forms.

Al-Azhar expressed its wish that "the coalition would be successful in destroying terrorism, and ridding people of its evils."

Also on Tuesday, foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abo-Zeid said that Egypt supports all efforts to combat terrorism.

“Egypt supports all efforts to defeat terrorism, especially if such efforts are Islamic or Arab,” Abo-Zeid told state owned MENA agency. “We endorse it and will be a part of it.”

The 34-state coalition consists of Arab, African and Asian countries such as Egypt, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, and Pakistan. 

Shi'ite Muslim Iran, Sunni Saudi Arabia's archrival for influence in the Arab world, was absent from the states named as participants, as proxy conflicts between the two regional powers rage from Syria to Yemen.

The coalition will fight the ISIS militant group as well as "any terrorist organisation that appears in front of us," according to Saudi deputy crown prince and Defence Minister Mohammed bin Salman, who is thought to be around the age of 30-years old.

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