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
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
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
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
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.