The confirmation given a few days ago by Saudi Arabian Second Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz, that the security services have foiled more than 220 terrorist attacks on Saudi Arabia, and arrested those who planned and took part in them, requires us – as a society – to also play our role in this regard in order to compliment the successes of the security services. More than 220 terrorist attempts would never have been made if each of us adhered to our individual responsibilities; if each family protected its children by teaching them not to follow violence then none of their children would ever have become ensnared by violent propaganda, if each teacher had planted the seeds of moderation in the minds of his students then no students would ever have been taken in by extremism, and if each imam conducting the Friday sermon had discussed this problem and offered advice and guidance to his listeners then they would abhor violence and those who incite it.
It is true that the security apparatus were successful in foiling this huge number of terrorist attempts through successful pre-emptive measures, and it also true that they averted a huge number of potentially bloody and fatal attacks, however purifying the ideology of the country’s children requires that we all participate and contribute to their education, as fathers, mothers, teachers, media figures, religious figures, and ordinary people. If we all seek to fulfil our responsibility, then we would ensure that the security services are not overburdened with this huge responsibility.
Every family justifies the mistakes committed by one of its children against society by holding “bad company” responsible for leading him astray, and mosques, schools, and society in general offer similar justifications. Usually, justifications such as this are nothing more than a means to avoid acknowledging a lack of education at home, and a family’s failure to root peaceful principles in their children. This means that when such children leave the family environment they are ill-prepared to deal with the challenges of life. Such justifications are also an attempt to conceal previous educational problems or mistakes in school and society at large. This is because we failed to provide the young generation with a means of thinking which would stimulate them to think in a mature manner about the consequences of their actions, thereby keeping them away from blindly following instructions which is something that leads to subordination and submission. The “bad company” that we now denounce are not a cause but an effect, and they themselves are victims of educational mistakes committed in some homes and class rooms. Therefore I hope that whenever a member of a [terrorist] cell is arrested, he points the finger of accusation at the weak link [that allowed him to become a terrorist] so that his family, teachers, preachers, or indeed all three, are aware that they bear some responsibility for what happened to him and that “you reap what you sow” and that they have no right to blame him, rather they should blame themselves.
Therefore, while the security service has been successful in fighting violence and terrorism it our duty as a society to assume our responsibility side by side with them to ensure that violence does not beget more violence. The question is, will we be able to do this?