‘Radical Rehab’: Saudi-style anti-terrorism counseling a success

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More than 3,000 Saudis have benefited from a program offered by a rehabilitation center in the kingdom, encouraging its patients to abandon extremist ideologies.

A total of 92 percent of those who underwent a period of counseling at the Prince Mohamed bin Naif Center for Counseling and Care, successfully completed the program, a sign which owners of the center see as encouraging for eradicating the root causes of terrorism.

The intensive program offered at the center focuses on clarifying political and historical events to its patients in relation to Shariah law.

The center also organizes meetings among religious scholars and people who have given up extremism in a bid to restore their confidence and help ease them back into society.

Abdul Rahman Al Houaity, one of the counseling program beneficiaries, told Al Arabiya this week that the program has made him think clearly and opened his eyes to consider thoughts and opinions that are different from his own.

He added that the program helped him consider political, social and economic aspects rather than focusing merely on Shariah law.

Badr Al Anzy, who had a previous encounter with extremism, said that extremist groups used to brainwash new joiners in a way that would make them stray away from Shariah law.

Since its inception, the center has approached more than 8000 people believed to have radical mindsets through counseling seminars and lectures.