Saudi Arabia’s counter-terrorism efforts include countering hate speech and violence by educating people about extremist groups, according to a Saudi official who spoke at a panel discussion held in Riyadh on Thursday.
The country’s efforts include “spreading sermons and lectures to educate the people about the tactics used by extremist groups whether they are ISIS or the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group,” said Dr. Ali al-Shehri, a representative from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs.
Titled “Integration in Countering Terrorist Networks Narrative: ISIS as a Model,” the panel discussion was organized by the Saudi Presidency of State Security and the Global Coalition Against Daesh.
Saudi Arabia is one of the 79 members of the Global Coalition, committed to degrading, defeating, and dismantling ISIS.
Nancy Jamal, the official representative of the Global Coalition, said it was important to discuss violent video games. “There are a lot of studies which looked into the psyches of the players and how content from these video games affect them, how it markets terrorist ideas and instills in them violent tendencies.”
This is important to discuss, Nancy said. “A lot of countries are looking into this now,” she added.
Jamal said the forum was important because it included experts from several fields including defense, media and policymakers.
The panel discussions also saw the participation of Etidal, an international center to combat extremism based in Riyadh.
“Our long-term strategic goal is to build a model which we can spread thoughts of moderation, not hate. We at Etidal aim to highlight the importance of tolerance not just on the person or family but as a culture in which the people will accept that extremism and hatred should no longer be accepted in society,” said Sultan al-Khuzam, director of global collaboration at Etidal.
The panel’s three main sessions focused on topics related to tackling terrorism, highlighting the Saudi role in rejecting extremism in all its forms, including countering hate speech and confronting all causes of violence.