The Saudi Interior Minister’s statement that “the discovery of a group of financial supporters of deviant groups in Saudi Arabia by security forces,” is the clearest example of the acknowledgement of an issue that has been whispered about in various gatherings and on various occasions. The phenomenon of moral and financial support of terrorism has become a well-known issue, thus the war on terrorism should focus on the battle against ideological and financial support and should be as fierce as the military confrontation in this respect.
The best way to represent the delicate situation of the confrontation and struggle against this deviant and unjust ideology is the continuous capture of more and more terrorists and the discoveries of arsenals that hold the weapons available to them.
I remember a few weeks after 9/11 when Tariq Alhomayed, Asharq Al-Awsat’s Editor-In-Chief, held a series of talks on various contemporary issues concerning Saudi Arabia, the west and terrorism. The seminars covered a range of topics including politics, the economy, media and charities. I had the honor of taking part in all of the seminars that debated current issues candidly and this was unprecedented in Saudi media. Even the participants of the seminars could not believe that their comments were allowed to be published and discussed. Following this, the knot became untied and changes began to take place rapidly. The doors were suddenly open to criticism, assessment and to free speech about issues that have been prohibited in the past.
The journey however, is not over and the statement made by the Saudi Interior Minister confirms that the journey is continuing though obstacles have not been defeated. These obstacles are allowing this misguided group to plant and reap the fruits of extremism, as the ground is still ripe for such poisonous ideas.
The journey continues, as extremism and terrorism are still thriving and enjoying support. Are we still not serious in dealing with extremism even though we are serious in dealing with it on the security level? Is there a price to be paid in confronting the issue to eliminate the poison that has been implanted in the soil? The issue is no longer related to Palestine or to evicting atheists from the Arabian Gulf, or to the liberation of Iraq or any other monthly fads that promote the interests of terrorist campaigns and the operations that take place. The issue is related rather to a way of thinking that is based on terrorism whose advocates believe that it is righteous whilst Islam has nothing to do with it.