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Pursuing ISIS Terrorists, Taming the Mindset Behind

16 May 2016

By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

''What else could you expect of your children…turning out to be pianists, perhaps?!'' a sarcastic tweet replying to the wide Saudi renouncement of the horrid incident of two young boys killing their mother and wounding their father, under the impression of their parents being infidels! The incident shocked the entirety of Saudi community.

What is more is that the Saudi society has long held family ties at an undisputed high, prioritizing respect for parents above all. With increasing number of assaults against relatives in the name of religion, everyone has been left wondering among the same lines of ''What has become of our children?''.

The increasing assaults occur in different patterns and are directly associated with ISIS- online-spread ideology and commands. The community has underwent multiple incidents of devastation, most of which belittled, ruled out as an exception with the kid-felons being deemed mentally instable. Official documents kept at calling the convicts ''warped.''

With one awful shock unfolding after the other, it was made clear that terrorist ideology promoted by ISIS , and previously by al Qaeda, had succeeded in infiltrating one of the most difficult, secure and isolated societies—terrorist organizations gained access to Saudi women social rings.

Families were dumbfounded when discovering their girls and women had escaped to Yemen or Syria. Moreover, other women are continuously being apprehended at airports after attempting to escape.

Saudi courts convicted the arrested women for involvement in terrorist activities, keeping in mind that many others have succeeded in leaving the Kingdom and currently are in the company of militants in Iraq and Syria!

ISIS ideology had made its way through homes once believed secure behind shut doors, egging on children, inciting them to commit murder against their ''infidel'' parents.

Moreover, ISIS goads military men against their government, accusing the ruling administration of unfaithfulness towards Islam. Even the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, top Saudi cleric and high-end devoted Muslim scholar, has been marked as a target by terrorist organizations.

The puzzling question posed now is how did ISIS succeed in radicalizing a young boy to a point which has him murder his own parents over religion-affiliated accusations? Or for a woman to set out to fight in battles in Syria, after being completely convinced that women are prohibited to drive or even leave the house? Nevertheless, the contrastive radicalization, led in the dark, will ultimately result in such absurd contradictions and behaviors.

Despite the Saudi community discussing cases of extremism and demanded countering action over the past two decades however, it had not triumphed against the abnormality that is extremism, why could that possibly be? We have to clearly distinguish between two wholly different activities, the first being countering terrorism-based extremism, which has proved successful on a large scale. The second being countering extremism in general, this has proved a great failure.

The terrorist-sprout extremism has been cornered down, like the calls for ''jihad'' and fighting in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Chechnya. There is no trace left of the terrorists calling on for recruitment, due to security pursuing efforts. Terrorist funding and hosting processes have been stopped, with strict authoritative monitoring; the funds have generally come to an end.

One Saudi extremist, commenting on the subject, tweeted beseeching extremist sheikhs to ''open up a fund-raising account in Kuwait and to circulate the

associated Iban to the public, so long that Kuwait has become a country better and more humanitarian Kingdom than Saudi Arabia!'' the tweet displays the level of rage extremists are experiencing after being bottlenecked, with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia considering their activities a crime punishable by law. Meanwhile, Kuwait had a late start with tracking down suspicions funds, and still is cutting short on countering fund-raising ''jihad''- appealing extremists.

Across all countries, three main categories are being intensively monitored: inciters, funders and combat volunteers. After the constitutional amendment outlawing extremism, holding specialized trials, many being convicted and condemned to punitive measures, cases are being published on a daily basis.

Extremism in general, which does not seek ''jihad'' or collecting funds remained a constant, preaching the holiness of extremism propagandists and turning people against the joy of life, guilting moderate Muslims, accusing them of violating holy creed, and eventually turning them against themselves– above all, broad extremism edifies the hatred of others as a condition to piousness.

Surely, laws cannot be passed against extremism nor can others be punished for their compromised morality; however, an alternative to extremism is present in the support directed towards a moderate extremism-free Islam. Moderate Islam is already followed by institutional governments, communities and is taught in schools. Islam, kidnapped by ISIS, must be restored; otherwise, the terrorist group will find no trouble in recruiting anyone regardless of age, so long their mindset has been founded on extremism.

In my opinion, promoting moderate Islam is far more imperative than tracking down radicalized ISIS members, the latter finds fertile ground in isolated communities. The terrorist group has been able to take over the mindsets of mere children, turning them against their parents, and that of employees turning them against their government.

The sole solution is to bolster moderation as an approach, without doing so, we would arrive at a time in which prisons are overcrowded with criminals, extremists, and those mentally disturbed. No punishment would then be able to inhibit extremists, nor protect families, communities, governments or the world from their evil.

Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.
 

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