Trump Speech to Muslims: ‘We are not here to lecture’ - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Trump Speech to Muslims: ‘We are not here to lecture’

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President Donald Trump will offer a message of unity in the face of extremism Sunday during a highly anticipated speech in the birthplace of Islam.

"This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations," the president will say to dozens of Muslim leaders in Saudi Arabia, according to excerpts of his remarks released by the White House. "This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it."

The speech during the initial stop of the president's first foreign trip is set to be a stark contrast to his previous comments on Islam. As a candidate, Trump frequently criticized the religion, saying, "I think Islam hates us" and "there's a tremendous hatred there."

The U.S.'s Middle Eastern allies have often complained about America's focus on human rights, a stance Trump also seemed keen to make a break from.

"America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens," the president will say. "We are not here to lecture — we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership — based on shared interests and values — to pursue a better future for us all."

Introducing Trump, Saudi Arabia's King Salman spoke of the responsibility and need "to stand united to fight the forces of evil and extremism."

"There is no honor in committing murder," Salman said, adding that Islam is "the religion of peace and tolerance."

Trump will define the struggle against extremism as "a battle between good and evil," according to the excerpts.

"Barbarism will deliver you no glory — piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and your soul will be condemned."

The excerpts released ahead of the speech at the King Abdul Aziz Conference Center here do not include the phrase "radical Islamic terror" — one Trump used repeatedly on the campaign trail, and lambasted his predecessor for not uttering. Instead, Trump will frame the battle as one against "Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires."

The president was also planning to say that countries in the region must do the hard work themselves and not expect the U.S. to fight terror for them.

"The nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them. The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries, and for their children."

"Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combating radicalization," the president said.

Trump said he hoped the gathering of region leaders in Riyadh who attended his speech would mark the beginning of the end of terrorism and the start of peace in the Middle East.

Trump came to office promising to disengage the U.S. from conflicts that have claimed thousands of U.S. lives, particularly in the greater Middle East, where it has been embroiled in wars in Afghanistan and Iraq among others.

Trump echoed his "America First" mantra from the campaign, which according to the White House does not mean isolation and instead is about U.S. citizens' "safety and security."

His presidential campaign was rife with anti-Muslim comments and promises, including support of surveillance of mosques, as well as an early proposal for a "total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on."

As president, Trump made good on a version of that promise by signing a travel ban that has been stalled in the courts which would have barred citizens from a handful of Muslim-majority countries, although not Saudi Arabia.

On Saturday, Trump received a royal greeting after touching down in the country. The pomp and pageantry included a signing ceremony for a military arms deal to Saudi Arabia, worth $110 billion effective immediately and up to $350 billion over 10 years, and ended with a boisterous banquet filled with music and dancing.

"That was a tremendous day. Tremendous investments in the United States," Trump told reporters Saturday. "Hundreds of billions of dollars of investments into the United States and jobs, jobs, jobs."

Earlier Sunday before his speech, Trump held meetings with other regional leaders during which he touted "lots of beautiful military equipment" that U.S. workers manufacture.

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