Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- The mother of Fawzi al-Rashidi, one of the four Saudi nationals arrested by Pakistani authorities whilst disguised as a woman, could not convince her son to turn away from what he described as performing “Jihad for the sake of God” on Afghan soil.
Naif al-Rashidi informed Asharq Al-Awsat that his brother Fawzi, who appeared on television screens last week dressed in traditional brown Pakistani garments had attempting to obtain his mother’s blessing to join the ranks of the fighters along the Pakistani – Afghan border.
Naif told Asharq Al-Awsat “Fawzi would sit next to my mother and insist that she allow him to go and perform Jihad. He was attempting to go with her consent, but her position was clear on this issue, and she said that she would not forgive him if he went there.”
However Fawzi, who gave a false name to the Pakistani authorities after he was arrested in Pakistan’s tribal region along with three other Saudi nationals, did not heed his mother’s repeated calls against travelling to Afghanistan. According to Naif al-Rashidi, his brother Fawzi did not have a history of ideological fanaticism or religious extremism during his youth, and that he dropped out of education after completing Middle School.
Naif explained the circumstances prior to his brother’s disappearance from al-Qassim province in northern Saudi Arabia for Afghanistan. According to Naif al-Rashidi, in the period leading up to his brother deciding to travel to Afghanistan, Fawzi was more religious [than before] and became acquainted with a group of “bearded” religious men who would visit him at the family home.
In only a few days Fawzi al-Rashidi will have been absent from his home for a full year having departed al-Qassim province on 18 June 2008 travelling via Qatar to Afghanistan.
Naif al-Rashidi also tells Asharq Al-Awsat that his family reported his brother’s disappearance to the security authorities. Fawzi al-Rashidi also contacted his family by phone saying that he had arrived in Afghanistan. The family attempted to convince Fawzi to abandon the idea of fighting in Afghanistan but were unsuccessful.
Naif al-Rashidi told Asharq Al-Awsat that his brother Fawzi, who used to work for a private company selling Japanese cars, would publicly repeat that he was going to perform Jihad as people had “guaranteed his entry into Paradise.”
The Saudi Arabian embassy in Pakistan is contacting official authorities in Islamabad in order to identify the four Saudi nationals, and extradite them back to Saudi Arabia. Naif al-Rashidi said that he will contact the Saudi embassy in Pakistan to officially request that they follow up on his brother’s arrest.