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SALZBURG: A global coalition formed to counter the spread of Islamist extremism in the West held its first conference in the Austrian city of Salzburg.

The Champions for Liberty Against the Reality of Islamist Tyranny, or CLARITy Coalition, was created by former Muslims, Muslim reformers, activists and writers dedicated to fighting Islamic extremists.

The three-day forum, held on the shores of Lake Leopoldskroner Weiher in the historic city, aimed to “repel the ideology of Islamist extremism, which seeks to elevate archaic religious conceptions of people and society above universal human rights and secular governance.


The group reiterated its adherence to democratic values ​​based on reason, critical debate and the fundamental freedoms set out in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Daniel Pipes, an American historian and chairman of the Middle East Forum, told Arab News that a global coalition is needed to deal with the spread of extremism.

“The Islamists are incredibly well organized. The time has come for anti-Islamists to emulate them. The Salzburg meeting gave us a good start,” he said.

According to its website, the coalition “stands for peace, democracy, freedom and secular governance” and is “deeply concerned about the continued threat to these values ​​posed by the actions and claims of Islamists in various places around the world.” .

Participants in the forum, which ended on October 30, agreed that the influence of radical Islamists is growing in North America and Western Europe through the infiltration of local and central governments.

Wasiq Wasiq, a UK-based academic and administrator of Muslims Against Antisemitism, told Arab News: “The issue of Islamism in Western society cannot be ignored by scholars, activists, policy makers and government. . It is heartening that CLARIty is leading the approach against an ideology that seeks to transform the West into a Sharia-compliant society. I am proud to be part of this company.

The group warned that Islamists are targeting different ethnicities and faiths, including moderate Muslims who want to integrate into Western society and live in peace and prosperity.

Eran Shayshon, CEO of the Reut Institute, highlighted the similarities between anti-Semitism and Muslim hatred in the West.

“Both communities feel that others are framing their narrative. In the case of moderate Muslims, it would be the Islamists who would claim to represent them. Interreligious activities and Jewish-Muslim cooperation are not new. Yet now with the Abraham Accords in the background, there may be an opportunity to build strong bridges against hate,” Shayshon told Arab News.

During a panel discussion on promoting a counter-Islamist narrative in the media, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, founder of the AHA Foundation and women’s rights activist, hailed social reforms in Saudi Arabia and stressed the importance to support a progressive movement in the Middle East.

Evelyn Marcus of Never Again Is Now voiced her support for this “fight”, telling Arab News: “Muslim reformers are fighting for individual rights in the Muslim community. For the freedom of conscience, love and movement of every individual in this community; for the sovereignty of individuals over their own bodies.

The founding members of the coalition and their guests have vowed to continue their collaboration, strengthening a global movement to “combat Islamist ideology and efforts to manipulate Muslims in the West by spitting hatred and fear within Muslim communities”. .

The group reiterated its adherence to democratic values ​​based on reason, critical debate and the fundamental freedoms set out in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights.