In a video which purported to show Saudi worshippers apprehending a suspect following Friday’s terrorist attack on Imam Rida mosque – located in the Mahasen neighborhood of al-Ahsa region in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia – a man can be heard screaming: “Take a photo of him so they don’t swap him.”
What he meant by “swap him” was that the suspected terrorist could be changed with another man and it could be claimed that the latter is the perpetrator!
This is the first time I have heard of the likelihood of terrorist faces being switchedTurki Al-Dakhil
Some people demanded that the man who made this statement should be arrested as he suspected security forces, which are sacrificing their lives to protect the country and provide security for its citizens. They even provide security to the man who made this statement.
The biggest proof of sacrifices being made by the security forces is their apprehending of al-Ahsa suspects who would have inflicted huge losses if they had infiltrated the worshippers’ area, which was the original plan.
I understand that if you buy an iPhone online, it may compromise your identity or if you’re buying a watermelon, the grocer may switch the watermelon with a stale one if you’re not looking!
However this is the first time I hear of the likelihood of a terrorist facing the possibility of being switched. The statement is naive and laughable. Worst misfortunes are those that make you laugh, which is why I don’t tend to exaggerate this statement.
Naive comments are commonplace and if security forces are to pursue them, we’d need 10 officers for each citizen; one to provide security, another to monitor statements, two others to make sure everyone is doing their job and so on.
For the past two decades, terrorism has failed to destroy the foundations of the Saudi society or harm its unity. Several attempts were made between 2011 and 2014 to breach this synergy but they’ve failed miserably. Let’s hope and pray we remain protected from this scourge.
This article was first published by Okaz newspaper on Feb. 1, 2016.
Turki Al-Dakhil is the General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. He began his career as a print journalist, covering politics and culture for the Saudi newspapers Okaz, Al-Riyadh and Al-Watan. He then moved to pan-Arab daily Al-Hayat and pan-Arab news magazine Al-Majalla. Turki later became a radio correspondent for the French-owned pan-Arab Radio Monte Carlo and MBC FM. He proceeded to Elaph, an online news magazine and Alarabiya.net, the news channel’s online platform. Over a ten-year period, Dakhil’s weekly Al Arabiya talk show “Edaat” (Spotlights) provided an opportunity for proponents of Arab and Islamic social reform to make their case to a mass audience. Turki also owns Al Mesbar Studies and Research Centre and Madarek Publishing House in Dubai. He has received several awards and honors, including the America Abroad Media annual award for his role in supporting civil society, human rights and advancing women’s roles in Gulf societies. He tweets @TurkiAldakhil.
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