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Saudi Arabia: Over 400 Extremist Released in the Last Six Months - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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Jeddah, Asharq Al-Awsat- – Dr. Mohamamd al Nujaimi, member of the Advisory Committee at the Saudi Ministry of Interior and the Chairman of the Civil Studies Department at the King Fahd Security College revealed that more than 400 extremists have been released in the last six months.

He indicated that the Committee and the Ministry of Education were collaborating on a project to disseminate advice in schools, institutes, colleges and universities across the Kingdom, adding that school directors and deputies were currently being trained for this purpose.

“These steps and studies aim at eradicating extremist ideologies before they manifest themselves and safeguard the though of our youths and that of future generations”, AL Nujaimi said.

In a press release issued on Sunday and seen by Asharq al Awsat, the Advisory Committee announced it was implementing a project to advise those arrested for taking part in terrorist operations across Saudi Arabia .

For his part, Saud al Musaybih, the Committee’s president and Director General for Public Relations and Guidance at the Ministry of Interior, pointed out that a select number of religious scholars, intellectuals and experts in religious sciences, psychology and sociology were taking part in the project.

“Prince Naif Bin Abdulaziz, the Interior Minister, has indicated that those who showed remorse for their misguided ways and demonstrated their new convictions during classes would continue to be released.”

“He also affirmed that those who were implicated in bombings and terrorist activities or those currently awaiting trial would not be released. Their families will continue to be looked after by the state.”

Speaking to Asharq al Awsat, al Musaybih said the Committee featured three sub-committees on religious(on Shariaa law), security and scientific matters, employing more than 100 religious scholars and 30 medical doctors and psychology experts divided throughout the Kingdom, responsible for reforming prisoners.

The Committee enjoyed a growing appeal amongst detainees, a far cry from its early days when large numbers refused to meet with religious scholars. The same individuals now request the meetings which are held in a warm and respectful environment, al Musabih said.

Classes of “between 20 and 25 students” were being held across the Kingdom with the detainees taught religious concepts such as “ al Takfir (denouncing someone as an infidel) and al Walaa wal Baraa (loyalty [to the believers] and disassociation

[from the non-believers]) and other relevant issues.” At present, classes were available in seven regions in Saudi Arabia.

During each five-week course, students were taught seven different subjects related to Islamic law as well as psychology. A test in week 6 determined who succeeded and who had to repeat the course.

According to al Nujaimi, the three-hour class was divided into two sessions: one that starts at 5:30 pm and another at 7:30 pm, each featuring a 20-minute discussion.

“In the last few months, two student groups of 45 graduated in the Riyadh region, total and one group in each of the other seven regions.” New sessions will take place in Riyadh and other regions next year.

Commenting on the difficulties faced by the Committee, al Nujaimi said, “We spent months trying to convince some individuals to communicate and discuss their beliefs with us.”

He added, “There is another group, which wanted to go to areas where fighting was taking place because it believed that jihad (armed struggle) was a duty, like prayer, alms giving and fasting. We explained that jihad had its conditions and regulations. In reality, we do not encounter much difficulty with such individuals as they are seeking the truth, contrary to those who adopt evil ideologies and are opposed to the government and society and plan to carry out terrorist operations inside Saudi Arabia.”

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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