At the launch of the “Yemen and the Kingdom in confronting Iranian Houthi Terrorism and Extremism” forum in Riyadh, Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Asheikh affirmed the support of his country, under the leadership of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, for the Yemeni people.
He said Yemeni scholars play an important role to play in the challenges facing the country and a responsibility to their countrymen and women to help achieve security and stability.
Yemen has been engulfed in a civil war since 2014 between the internationally recognized Yemeni government, backed by a Saudi-led Arab coalition, and the Iran-backed Houthi militia. According to the UN, 24.1 million people in Yemen, 80 percent of the population, are in need of humanitarian aid and protection amid “the largest humanitarian crisis in the world.”
Al-Asheikh said his ministry is keen to support the efforts of Yemeni scholars to convey their advocacy, scientific and intellectual messages, and the dangers of the Iranian-backed Houthi militia to the Islamic faith and identity. He called for the coordination and redoubling of efforts in Yemen to save the people of the country from losing their identity. Mohammed Shabiba, the Yemeni minister of religious endowments and guidance, praised the Kingdom for its support of the Yemeni government and people, which is he said is something “that history will not forget.”
He also praised the ministry for its part in supporting and sponsoring the work of the Communication with Yemeni Scholars Program, and said that Saudi Arabia and Yemen are of one body, one illusion and one cause.
Shabiba emphasized the need to coordinate the work of scholars and advocates to help preserve the Yemeni Islamic identity, which he said the Houthi militia is trying to hijack by excluding its youth and instilling racist ideas that are alien to Arabism, morals, values and Islam.
Mohammed Al-Arifi, the supervisor of the Communication with Yemeni Scholars Program at the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, highlighted the work of the program and its achievements in harnessing all capabilities to support the efforts to confront extremist ideas, especially the Houthi ideology.
The efforts of the Kingdom to combat Houthi extremism, and the country’s humanitarian role were also discussed, along with the role of the Saudi government and the Arab coalition in confronting Houthi aggression.
Delegates also discussed what human rights and humanitarian organizations can do to help, and reviewed evidence of Houthi violations carried out against the Yemeni people.