FOREIGN AFFAIRS – SAUDI ARABIA AND ISLAMISM – 5 January 2016

Dr Julian Lewis: It can never be said too often that in highly contested areas of this sort one often has to choose the lesser of two evils. The Minister has painted a convincing picture of the way in which important intelligence tip-offs against Daesh are furnished to this country, but can he use his and the Government’s influence to say to the Saudis that their protestations of opposition to Daesh would carry more weight if there were less support from Saudi Arabia for the spreading of extreme Wahabist ideology through mosques and in countries around the world?

[The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr Tobias Ellwood): My right hon. Friend makes an important point. We are facing extremism, not just from Daesh, but from a series of extremist operators, including the Khorasan group, al-Shabaab, Boko Haram, Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, Ansar al-Sharia and al-Nusra. They have one objective in common: to harm the west. It is important that everybody recognises that we will win not on the battlefield, but by winning hearts and minds. Nothing is more important than countries such as Saudi Arabia recognising the work it can do, which it is starting to do, in persuading the extremists and everybody else who might be encouraged to join those extremists that that is not what Islam is all about.]