Public’s role vital for confronting extremist ideologies: Al-Turki


Addressing a seminar entitled “Intellectual Security in the Kingdom” at the first forum held by ASIS International (American Society for Industrial Security) branch in Jeddah, he said people expose themselves to negative thoughts through different outlets without realizing where it might lead them. The ASIS is a global organization for security professionals.

Al-Turki explained the link between the country’s security and people’s way of thinking and said that the latter is reflected in one’s outward behavior. “Negative thinking leads to consequential behavior such as terrorism,” said the general.

Each society has its own ideology and for Saudi society, it is the Islamic Shariah, he said. The role of the security organs after identifying the problem areas is to address the sectors responsible.

Al-Turki said that households and schools must play a larger role in monitoring thoughts and behaviors of young people. He gave the example of the Al-Qaeda ideology which penetrated society through a religious Trojan Horse, describing it as “hidden poison in honey”.

Security forces have been successful in rooting out terrorism, he said, but the challenge is combating the driving force behind extremism and ideologies that undermine harmony in society.

He did not give a clear definition of the “other ideologies” but in general referred to every ideology that negatively affected the country’s fundamental principles.

The Saudi government has been praised for the method adopted for the rehabilitation program for dealing with extremists, he said. “It does not get them off the hook for the crimes they committed but we have succeeded in enlightening them. Some families called us to inform us of their return to the normal pattern of thinking and requested our continued help,” he said.

Albader Janah, head of ASIS Jeddah branch, said that ASIS is one of the largest non-profit organizations dedicated to security. Established in 1955, the international body today boasts 35,000 members from all parts of the world. The Jeddah branch was established in June last year.

During the interactive session of the forum attendees questioned the role of the government in matters that could lead to poverty and unemployment. One woman participant asked about the lack of trust between the public and security agencies.

Al-Turki responded by saying that the government and the public have a role to play and not all blame lies on any one side. The seminar came to an abrupt end during the interaction period with many questions left unanswered.

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