Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Jihad Rehab

Saudi Arabia, home to nearly half the foreign detainees in Iraqi jails, and most of the 9/11 hijackers, is trying something new to combat terrorism: a 12-step program for terrorists.

"Saudi Youth Enter Rehab to Overcome Their Terrorist Ways" tells about a program sanctioned by the Saudi Arabian government, which is giving hundreds of Islamic fighters a second chance.

To live a peaceful life, that is.

It sounds good. Presumably, some of the 'death to America' crowd have already graduated, and are living happy, healthy lives: going to universities, holding down jobs, and having children.

A few quotes from people involved in the program:
  • "I would like to say to the American people that Islam forbids killing innocent people." Ahmed al-Shayea, who blew up a tanker truck outside the Jordanian embassy, killing nine people, al-Shayea escaped, but without a few fingers and with burns over most of his body
  • "We tell them that they should give the right picture of Islam. They should not kill or bomb or do anything against Islam." - Dr. Ahmad Hamad Jilan of the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs
  • "I regret strongly for what I had done because unfortunately I was instead of building Islam, I was destroying Islam," - Saddam Saleh, recovering terrorist
The facility covered in the news article is on the edge of provincial capital Al Janderea, in Saudi Arabia.

It sounds like a pretty nice place to hang out. The half-way house for repentant terrorists includes
  • A pool
  • A library
  • A volleyball court
  • Gardens
I assume that the participants can't leave, which would take some of the shine off its allure.

In addition to getting help with social problems which are assumed to have made them go bad, the recovering terrorists get a re-education in Islam.

"Jilan and other instructors teach the inhabitants that jihad should not be waged against any non-Muslims with whom an Islamic nation has a truce or peace treaty. Jihad must also be approved, he said, by the state and by one's parents," the article says.

That sounds better than "Death to the Jews! Death to the great satan America!" - but I couldn't help notice how jihad is still okay, as long as the right people say so.

I'd like to believe that this program, and ones like it in Egypt and Yemen, are legitimate: that they actually are trying to heal the minds of these terrorists, and turn them into people who can be safely released.

That doesn't mean that I'm not maintaining a robust skepticism about the Saudi program. There's the possibility that it turns out terrorists who are aware that they have to maintain a better cover to be effective, or that it is a public relations gimmick.

At this point, there doesn't seem to be any way to tell.

I'm just glad that Saudi Arabia is making a gesture, at least, toward stopping terrorism.

Posts on this general topic:

2 comments:

Zawadi said...

Good writing Norski. not many people who blog about Jihad and Terrorism can see it from both sides.
Mybe they (We) are just to angry to right now maybe?

Brian, aka Nanoc, aka Norski said...

Thank you.

Anger can get in the way of clear thought, or it can drive the mind to deeper understanding.

I try to understand.

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Blogroll

Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.