RIYADH: ABDUL HANNAN TAGO
Published — Sunday 9 November 20
Family negligence and a rigid approach to dealing with children were identified as part of the main cause of extremism in the Saudi society, according to resolutions adopted at first forum of this year’s King Abdul Aziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND) that concluded in Arar this week.
It was a preparatory forum for the 10th Intellectual Dialogue under the theme “extremism and its effects on national unity” held in the northern border region with the participation of about 70 scholars, preachers, intellectuals and journalists.
KACND’s head attended the event, which seeks to identify the community’s perception of this growing phenomenon and ways of protecting the society from its adverse impact.
According to Fahd Sultan, KACND deputy secretary, a major factor behind the rise of extremism was the way in which such provocative material was smuggled into the curriculum in the guise of guidance and suggestions. In some institutions, lack of effort to keep the youth engaged in useful channels allowed them to vent their energy in a negative way.
Another cause for the rise of extremism, he said, was misinterpretation of religious text according to the vested interest of those who had a hidden agenda. They also found a gap between the interpretation of Shariah scholars on the one hand and the aspirations of the youth on the other. Also some foreigners who were keen on undermining the country’s unity found it convenient to bypass the guidelines of senior scholars for the sake of extremist advocates.
Sultan observed that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, who has a clear vision of the national goal, sought to identify these negative phenomenons and map out a strategy to protect society from its adverse impact
The Arar event also discussed various issues related to extremism and militancy. These included reality and manifestations, the factors and causes of extremism and militancy; consequences of religious, social and national extremism as well as the surge in militancy and how to protect society from the security threat that they pose.
Referring to the recommendations of the participants, Sultan said that the most prominent manifestations of religious extremism are harsh dealing of opponents, suppression of the freedom of expression and personal conduct, negative interpretation of other points of view by these ultra conservative elements, isolating the liberal thinkers from the community and parents, and tarnishing the image of the country’s scholars and rulers.