The Henry Jackson Society today responded to the announcement by Downing Street of the visit of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman next week, saying that it afforded the opportunity for the UK to back modernisation projects which promote a liberal, moderate form of Islam.
The Henry Jackson Society this month published Terror Overseas: Understanding the GCC Counter-Extremism and Counter-Terrorism Trends, which called for Britain to extend and deepen its relationship with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states in order to better tackle the root causes of radicalisation.
Najah Al-Otaibi, Research Fellow in the Centre for the Response to Radicalisation and Terrorism at the Henry Jackson Society and author of Terror Overseas, said:
“Mohammed bin Salman’s visit comes at a critical moment in UK-Saudi relations, not least when it comes to combatting terrorism. Over 40 people have been killed in 12 attacks in the two countries in the last year.
“The UK Government should take the opportunity to deepen its ties, not just with Saudi Arabia but with the wider Gulf region.
“The Crown Prince’s ‘Vision 2030’ project is an important one for encouraging the development of a moderate Islamic narrative which integrates liberal values, challenging the origins of extremism in the region and removing the sources of its funding worldwide.
“If we are truly to counter extremism at its source, the UK should now increase its anti-terrorism co-operation with the Saudis and the GCC, going beyond intelligence sharing to creating joint initiatives with civil society and working with tech companies to counter jihadi recruitment online.”