Saudi Arabia’s King Salman renewed calls for the promotion of a tolerant form of mainstream Islam on Monday when he became the first leader to sign the Makkah Declaration, a new document that pledges to combat extremism.
Speaking after a meeting in Makkah, Saudi Arabia, King Salman said that the country “condemns all forms of extremism and violence” and that it is its moral duty to combat terrorism by promoting “peace and moderation in the region,” state news agency Spa reported.
The Saudi ruler was joined at the Justice and Moderation in Modern Times meeting by ministers and prominent Islamic scholars.
The summit will last four days, according to a statement by the Muslim World League, a global Muslim society established to battle religious intolerance.
Dozens of sessions will be held to discuss “ways of spreading moderation” to the world and the Saudi king also renewed calls to stop racism and hatred.
“We call for the values of justice and for the promotion of peace and co-existence,” he said.
Saudi will host two further summits this week – one for Arab League members and one for Arabian Gulf leaders to discuss the recent “aggression” towards the Kingdom and other Gulf states.
A Saudi crude oil pipeline was hit by Houthi drone strikes earlier this month, one day after four oil tankers were targeted off the coast of the UAE.
The Houthis, a rebel movement in Yemen, have increased missile and drone attacks on Saudi in the past two weeks amid a standoff between the US and Iran.
Tensions have become heightened in the region after Washington deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Arabian Gulf, announcing plans to expand the deployment of troops to the region over what they described as threats from Iran.
The UAE, Saudi’s closest allies, said the current critical circumstances require a “unified Arab and Gulf stance”.