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Posted By Topic: Saudi Arabia tackles extremism through medium of TV

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19-12-2005 @ 10:33 PM    Notify Admin about this post
Hamza ibn Shaukat ibn Muhammad (London, UK)
Posts: 96
Joined: Nov 2003
Asalaamu 'alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuhu

From the Telegraph news website:
Saudis tackle extremism through medium of TV

A ground-breaking television series in which repentant radical Islamists reveal what they call the "deceit of jihad" is captivating Saudi Arabia, the kingdom that produced 15 of the September 11 plane hijackers.

The five-part series, Deceit in the Name of Jihad, is being aired in prime time on Saudi state television and the satellite channel, Al Arabiya. It includes interviews with Saudis who claim to have fought alongside Muslim fanatics in Afghanistan and Iraq before realising they had been "brainwashed" by al-Qaeda recruiters.

...After the programme there is an unprecedented live phone-in, during which callers are encouraged to debate the "deviant ideology" of militant Islam. "It's a must-see programme," said Mahmoud Ahnad, news editor of the Saudi Arab News.

...The participation of so many Saudis in the September 11 2001 attacks on America, followed by the kingdom's violent two-year battle with domestic terrorists, has persuaded authorities to bring the campaign against extremism to the television screen.

...Viewers have been able to watch the state-funded programme quiz the men about their journey from citizen to jihaist on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. In the first episode, three long-bearded men wearing flowing robes described how recruiters had persuaded them to go to training camps in Afghanistan. One man, Walid Khan, said he had been confused about the religious justification for targeting fellow Muslims as infidels, but was told: "Embark on jihad and you will obtain all the answers". But he said: "You never get any answers through jihad."

A second man, Ziad Asfan, said that in training camps "we listened to religious songs and fiery sermons that exposed Christian and Jewish conspiracies against the land of Islam". A third man, Abdullah Khoja, said that during his training he had met "several Arab and non-Arab fighters," including Muslims from Britain. "I loved them all," he said.

"The programme is a wake-up call for normal families in Saudi," Mr Ahnad said. "These men say they were deceived, that they were tools. People are now saying that we must watch our own sons to see whom they are meeting, who might be leading them astray."

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