Saudi Arabia has launched another initiative in its efforts to combat home-grown Islamic militancy with a new prime-time television programme.
After years of denying and covering up the threat of Islamic extremism amongst its own citizens, Saudi Arabia has recently done a complete switch-around and mounted a big anti-terrorism drive – of which this is the latest example.
After the evening news, it plunged straight into interviews with three young Saudis who had been in al-Qaeda-linked training camps in Afghanistan. The men all had long, straggly beards and wore their traditional clothing loose – signs that they were strongly religious.
The programme is called Experiences in the Name of Jihad: Deception, and its main point is that the young men – who did not come across unsympathetically – had been seduced into Islamic extremism by what it calls “deviant ideology”.
The programme was followed by a live discussion involving Saudi academics, writers and religious authorities. Viewers were also encouraged to phone in. The debate focused on why the young men were drawn to extremism.
Possible reasons suggested included marginalisation within their own society, fiery preaching by local mosque leaders, and the effect of the constant stream of violent images from the Palestinian territories and Iraq. [more]
What is strange however is that Saudis did not react in the same manner as Jordanians did when they came under such attack, which is something that has become frequent. This is possibly because the people of the major cities may feel disconnected to the happenings of the other regions whereas a blast in Amman resonates much loudly in a country so small.
You know I could dive into a discussion of what compelled these men to come forth in such a manner. Whether they’ve been forced to by the government. Whether they are simply reading their own words. Whether society will buy into it or see through it. Whether or not this is an attempt by the king to secure the throne. etc etc.
Though I would be missing a cruicial point: the fact that this is a program which should be done in Jordan. Whether or not those above theories/questions are valid are besides the point that the media, specifically state media, has a large tool to counter terrorist growth in the country, especially since most Jordanians will watch it.
I think it is essential that television be utilized in exposing what these people are and no one better to do it than a person who experienced it instead of a news reporter reporting it.
I agree with you totally … especially as you said; Jordan IS a small country which makes it easir to spread and icrease awareness and educate people how to become alert and consious towards what goes on around them …
It is time that we took our heads out of the sand and started doing something for real rather than just saying we should do this or that … Actions speak louder than words
Khalidah, “Actions speak louder than words“, couldn’t have put it better myself