“We’ve been at war with these outlaws of Islam for many, many years, and I don’t think a lot of Muslims understood that” and it took the Parisian terror attacks and the death of the Jordanian pilot for people “to understand really what we’re up against,” said King Abdullah II of Jordan in an interview with Fox’s Bret Baier.
In February, ISIS released a video of Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kaseasbeh burning alive.
His death “changed things,” said the King, “because I think our society needs to be shocked to the extent that these terrorists are all about.”
“I hate to use the word 'extremists' because they take that as a badge of honor,” he said.
With disgust, the King added: “I don’t know what these people are!”
ISIS militants “are outlaws, they are renegades, they have no understanding of what our religion is about,” said Abdullah, a direct descendant of the prophet Muhammed. ISIS terrorists “have targeted Muslims before they targeted other religions, and more Muslims have died because of them than any other religion.”
“This has been our war. And I think this is the challenge that, unfortunately, the United States has suffered from,” said the King. “It always looks, and [ISIS wants] to perpetuate this issue, that if the West is involved in our part of the world, that this is a Crusade. And it’s not. This is a war that we have inside of Islam against these people. And it’s something that has to be better understood.”
“Let’s talk about the ISIS threat,” said Baier. He asked Abdullah what they’re trying to accomplish, how they rose so quickly, and who they are.
“In a way it’s a franchise,” replied Abdullah. “Whether you’re al Qaeda, or ISIS, or Boko Haram or al Shabbab, the next worst element that comes up, whatever name they give themselves, everyone else will suddenly turn and give allegiance to that group. The worst of the scum always surfaces to the top.”
“The problem is they’re international, and I don’t think the international community realizes that they have to be dealt with internationally,” said Abdullah. “So today we are focusing on” ISIS, “but at the same time in 2015 we have to have a holistic approach.”
In the aftermath of the horrific burning-death-video released by ISIS, special forces-trained King Abdullah made headlines as the “badass King of Jordan” for acting immediately with airstrikes against ISIS.
At the time, other Arab countries joined Jordan in bombing ISIS, but now Jordan is the only Arab country attacking inside Syria alongside the United States (and soon to be joined by Canada.)
The economy is Jordan’s biggest challenge, said the King, because they have had to shelter 1.5 million Syrian refugees (20 percent of Jordan’s population.)
Abdullah told Baier that while Jordan’s relationship with the U.S. is “very strong” he’s had a wake-up call and realized that he must be more “bullish and straightforward” with the West.
“At the end of the day, I think I know what’s best for my country and for the region, and I think a blunt and honest discussion with friends is always much better than being wishy-washy,” said Abdullah.