At the start of the holy month of Ramadan, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia condemned religious extremists, saying he would not allow a handful of radicals to terrify Muslims.
Islam is a “religion of unity, fraternity and mutual support” but some people are “lured in by false calls are confusing reform with terrorism… Their goal is to sow discord among Muslims,” the monarch said, referring to insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
ISIL is a powerful jihadist organization that has led an offensive by Sunni militants in Syria and Iraq since June 2014, taking over the country’s northern cities and bringing under their control massive swaths of territory. The group aims to establish an Islamic state in between both countries but their recent expansion has started to worry neighbouring countries like Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia, which is home to Islam’s holiest twin cities Mecca and Medina, shares an 814-kilometer border with Iraq.
“We will not allow a handful of terrorists, using Islam for personal aims, to terrify Muslims or undermine our country and its inhabitants… We are continuing, with God’s help, to face and tackle this scourge,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah also wished his country’s residents as well as fellow Muslims across the world prosperity, security and stability through Ramadan, which commenced in most countries on the 29th of June. Ramadan is a sacred month-long festival for Muslims, as they believe this was the month in which their Koran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. During this period, adherents abstain from smoking, drinking, eating and having sex from sunrise to sunset.