Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat – Interior Ministry Security spokesman Major General Mansour al Turki put aside his military persona to speak frankly about almost losing his only son to Jihadist propaganda, warning of the dangers of the absence of family guidance in ensuring that the youth remain on the right path.
In a seminar dedicated to discussing terrorism and drugs, Major General Mansour al Turki spoke about his son who almost fell victim to Jihadist propagandists whilst he was a student at a state school. Major General al Turki said that if he had failed to control his son at that time “he might have been in Iraq, or Yemen, or Somalia today.”
Major General al Turki did not intend to relate the story about his son, who is currently a university student; however another figure who was attending the same seminar said that the family should not be held accountable for the guidance of children.
The Interior Ministry spokesman stressed that family plays a key role in addressing the behaviour of children. He said, “I was mistaken at times when I believed that one could solely depend on school, and had I failed to rectify the ideas of my only son he would have gone to one of those areas of conflict.”
Major General al Turki also stressed that despite the success achieved by the Saudi security apparatus in the war against Al Qaeda, “[Saudi Arabia] is still being targeted.” He stressed that even now there are those who want to exploit Islamic issues to manipulate Saudi Arabian youths for the sake of narrow interests and goals.
Major General al Turki also revealed that the primary reason that Saudi Arabia is being targeted, whether this is by means of terrorism or drugs, is because it is “a model for the Islamic State.” He stressed that those who are targeting and attacking Saudi Arabia want to establish a different model with regards to the concept of the Islamic State.
In response to a question by Asharq Al-Awsat as to whether there are regional countries that are seeking to spread their own approach to an Islamic state by eliminating the Saudi Arabian model, Major General al Turki said, “Actually, we want to find out who is behind the terrorist acts that target us from time to time, as the problem now is that Al Qaeda has turned into a never-ending problem.”
The Interior Ministry Security Spokesman also said that terrorism and drugs are two of the most dangerous issues that are targeting Saudi Arabia and its youth.
General Mansour al Turki said that Al Qaeda has failed to sow discord in Saudi Arabia but that the organization still represents a threat. He said, “Al Qaeda was concerned with operating inside Saudi Arabia, but after it failed it chose to remain close to it [Saudi Arabia] and so it chose Yemen. Last year we monitored several attempts by some Al Qaeda elements to enter Saudi Arabia to carry out terrorist attacks they had planned earlier.”
Major General al Turki also did not hide the fact that Saudi Arabia was also facing suspicions that it had not eliminated Al Qaeda from its territory alone, and he said that he answered those who asked him about this by saying, “Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world to broadcast its conflict with Al Qaeda live on the air.” He also pointed out that Saudi Arabia utilized ordinary daily security operations to combat terrorism, rather than military operations.
Major General al Turki also stressed the importance of the heightened public awareness among Saudi Arabians, and their recognition of deviant ideology, as this has deprived Al Qaeda of funding and support, which it relied upon heavily in order to carry out terrorist operations in Saudi Arabia.