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We must save our children from the preachers of evil

It is time we took a stand and put a stop to the influence of extremist ideology

Khaled Almaeena

Published: Updated:

The director of initiatives and programs at the Saudi Ministry of Interior Dr. Abdul Aziz al-Holail stated recently that some of the youth in the kingdom have a tendency to adopt extremist thoughts. He added that they began thinking in this way as a result of attending lectures and meetings.

Monitoring such events is a good method of discovering negative and hostile trends in their early stages. This process should be promoted and encouraged nationwide. We have wasted a lot of time and have lost many of our youth to those who prey upon their innocent minds and lead them to their doom and destruction.

‘Agents of death’

These “agents of death” who instigate violence and influence the youth to hate everyone who is different are preachers of evil.

By preaching intolerance, they enforce ideas that negate the very basis of Islam, which is tolerance, peace and love.

Muslim extremists encourage a misguided form of “jihad.” Their philosophy is not to build but to destroy

Khaled Almaeena

These self-appointed preachers have no compassion in their hearts and only talk about hellfire and brimstone, encouraging their adherents to kill and spill blood. With their “Takfirist” mentality, they brand anyone who does not subscribe to their way of thinking as a heretic and, therefore, a first target. Their enemy is not only the Jew or the non-Muslim, it is also the Muslim who does not adhere to their extremist ideology and their militant behavior.

Muslim extremists encourage a misguided form of “jihad.” Their philosophy is not to build but to destroy, not to spread happiness but to inflict pain and sadness and plant gloom. Sadly, they have succeeded in brainwashing many of our innocent youth to blow themselves up in vain. In their warped minds, anyone outside their thought process is a valid target.

What can we do?

So what can we do? The family is the first line of defense. We have to pay attention to our children as they are growing up and look for any sign that could spell trouble. Parents should outline the dangers of listening to or watching material that focuses on violence.

In schools, teachers should also be alert. Focus and energy should be directed to sports, literary clubs, music and the theater.

For a long time our schools have not provided the extracurricular activities that can put to good use the energy of our young – both boys and girls.

More important we have to listen to and communicate with our youngsters. By and large we are a patriarchal society where communication flows from up to down. Thus we hear neither the views nor the pleas of our young people.

In our quest to amass more material benefits, we ignore the young until it is too late.

It is time we took a stand and put a stop to the influence of extremist ideology. Engaging with our youth will help us end the manipulation of the preachers of violence and destruction. Let us close the door to deviant ideology and end the hatred of extremists who have hijacked our true Muslim faith.

Let that door be closed today.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on April 7, 2014.

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Khaled Almaeena is a veteran Saudi journalist, commentator, businessman and the editor-at-large of the Saudi Gazette. Almaeena has held a broad range of positions in Saudi media for over thirty years, including CEO of a PR firm, Saudi Television news anchor, talk show host, radio announcer, lecturer and journalist. As a journalist, Almaeena has represented Saudi media at Arab summits in Baghdad, Morocco and elsewhere. In 1990, he was one of four journalists to cover the historic resumption of diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Russia. He also traveled to China as part of this diplomatic mission. Almaeena's political and social columns appear regularly in Gulf News, Asharq al-Aswat, al-Eqtisadiah, Arab News, Times of Oman, Asian Age and The China Post. He can be reached at kalmaeena@saudigazette.com.sa and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena

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