Onus of battling Islamic extremism is on the Muslim community, Jordanian defense expert says

Princess Aisha bint Al Hussein, sister of Jordanian King Abdullah II, called for global opposition to ISIS but said the Muslim community has to take the lead while speaking at the TradeWinds resort in St. Pete Beach. CHERIE DIEZ   |   Times
Princess Aisha bint Al Hussein, sister of Jordanian King Abdullah II, called for global opposition to ISIS but said the Muslim community has to take the lead while speaking at the TradeWinds resort in St. Pete Beach.CHERIE DIEZ | Times
Published February 25 2015
Updated February 26 2015

ST. PETE BEACH — A Jordanian defense specialist offered a look into the dual fight against the Islamic State during a national security symposium on Wednesday.

Princess Aisha bint Al Hussein said world leaders must fight extremists on the ground and work to squelch ideas that breed terrorism. She called for cooperative global opposition to ISIS.

But the onus of battling Islamic extremist ideology, according to Al Hussein, falls on the Muslim community alone.

"Unfortunately, you can't help us with that. It's our responsibility," Al Hussein said in her keynote address at the Global Special Operations Forces Foundation's 2015 symposium at the TradeWinds resort. "We've allowed it to go on for too long, and we know that it's critical we address this situation as soon as possible."

Terrorist groups are "antithetical to Islam, its ideals, beliefs and values," she said.

Jordan is part of the coalition of forces fighting the Islamic State in the Middle East. Al Hussein, a former special forces officer herself, is the sister of King Abdullah II of Jordan and is a defense attaché at the country's embassy in Washington, D.C.

ISIS has grown rapidly in Iraq and Syria and has spread its message of hate through widely publicized execution videos. Last summer, the terrorist group beheaded two U.S. journalists. Earlier this month, the group distributed a video of terrorists burning a Jordanian pilot alive.

Shortly after, ISIS claimed an American aid worker whom its members had held hostage was killed in a Jordanian air strike. But the White House and leaders in Jordan denied that the woman, Kayla Mueller, 26, of Arizona was killed by a Jordanian missile.

If the Islamic State is not stopped, Al Hussein said, its crimes will continue to increase in savagery.

"They want to create fear," she said. "They want to come up with new and horrendous ways of taking life and causing countries or governments to back away from them because of the many possibilities of what they can do."

Though most of the physical battle against the Islamic State is taking place in the countries around Jordan, Al Hussein said people around the world must unite to combat extremism.

"These terrorists are in your countries, and sooner or later something will happen in your country," she said.

Contact Zachary T. Sampson at [email protected] or (727) 893-8804. Follow @ZackSampson.

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