The inhuman impact of terrorism, extremism and radicalism on Saudi Arabia has shrunk in recent years thanks to King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s reforms and successful efforts to promote coexistence and tolerance.
Yet, despite this, one cannot help question what has happened to the extremists — are they still living around us, what are their new agendas, and how can we understand them, and the way they think?
What is certain is no one except themselves justifies their actions, and though I believe their roots ended in Saudi Arabia, their conflicts have not: This is one of the Kingdom’s most significant challenges.
The government is putting in maximum effort to maintain peace and stability throughout the country. The Kingdom’s progress can be seen through measures taken to protect its youth, providing a secure, informative atmosphere to expose the truth about terrorist movements and their ideologies, such as through the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology, and the Intellectual Warfare Center.
On top of this, Saudi Arabia has the 990 hotline, a telephone service for security issues, through which anyone can raise their extremism or other security concerns with the authorities, who will handle them confidentially, delicately and discreetly.
The government is putting in maximum effort to maintain peace and stability throughout the country.
Noor A. Al-Naboud
Still, despite this, terrorists remain unpredictable, and they will surely continue to try to do damage through violence if given the chance.
Narrow mindsets can lead to violence, especially against those who do not share those mindsets. Extremists, sadly, are often beyond reason; they are blinded by their views, and most of the time, they lead us into a position where dialogue is of little use.
These people can be found everywhere, but it takes time and hard work to uncover their ignorance. Doing so, for counterterrorist authorities, is half the battle.
Extremists are also arrogant, and that can reveal itself with how they interact with others: Questioning your beliefs and perspectives on life; what you like and dislike most. Moreover, a conversation with an extremist often ends with a stream of negative judgements from them about you, in an effort to make you doubt yourself.
They themselves are not prepared to receive new ideas, and are always afraid of experiencing something different. Change threatens them badly; they have trust issues about the openness of society, as that threatens their ability to exercise power.
As individuals, we must educate ourselves and those around us about extremists and their practices, methods, and characteristics, and how behavioural traits and perspectives can escalate to violent behavior — no violent crime is spontaneous, it always follows a path.
Terrorism exists everywhere, but with the progress made in recent years, I am blessed that I feel safe in Saudi Arabia.
• Noor A. Al-Naboud is a writer, marketing and external communication and insurance expert.