Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Perks of penance for Saudi jihadis

Having for a long time studied deprogramming and forcible deprogramming in depth, I have fairly advanced notions on the subject. Those who know me know that I have always taken a strong stand against forcible deprogramming, viewing it as a serious and gross abuse of basic human rights.

However, at the same time, I always thought that, if applied in a non-forcible manner, it could be a good "solution" for the extremists such as Jihad fanatics ready to blow themselves together with countless innocents.

Indeed, the thought process that leads to such extreme is cultic par excellence. If only these people could be made aware of the particular illusion they are into, the problem would be resolved by itself.

Force ala Bush is only going to reinforce fanatics in their conviction and motivation and is not a solution in the long term.

Interestingly, this concept is now put forward by unlikely candidates. Indeed, Abdul-Rahman Hadlaq, Director of the "Ideological Security Unit" in Saudi Arabia, is quoted as saying

"You cannot defeat an ideology by force. You have to fight ideas with ideas"
and to put this concept in practice - with relaxed prison settings in exchange of prisoners having to attend religious education classes where Islamic scholars challenge their views.

What is important to me in this setup is that it all be voluntary and that due process be respected. Prisoners should not be detained for their opinion but for actual crimes they committed, and the program should remain strictly voluntary, which seems to be the case.

This s a promising venue and I am curious to see where it will eventually lead.

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