_53 (_53) wrote,
_53
_53


How to de-program a Jehadist.


The Saudi government has a lot of captured jihadists to deal with. Rather than keeping them locked up indefinitely, they are sent to a deprogramming facility, where they attend classes and are treated with Western luxuries:

"On arrival, each prisoner is given a suitcase filled with gifts: clothes, a digital watch, school supplies and toiletries. Inmates are encouraged to ask for their favorite foods (Twix and Snickers candy bars are frequent requests). Volleyball nets, PlayStation games and Ping-Pong and foosball tables are all provided. The atmosphere at the center — which I visited several times earlier this year — is almost eerily cozy and congenial, with mattresses and rugs spread on stubbly patches of lawn for inmates to lounge upon. With few exceptions, the men wear their beards untrimmed and their thobes, the long garments that most Saudi men wear, cut above their ankles in the style favored by those who wish to demonstrate strict devotion to Islam. The men are pleasant but many seem a bit puffy and lethargic; one 19-year-old inmate, Faisal al-Subaii, explained that they are encouraged to spend most of their daytime hours in either rest or prayer.

(...)

Most prisoners complete the program within two months. Upon release, each former jihadist is required to sign a pledge that he has forsaken extremist sympathies; the head of his family must sign as well. Some also receive a car (often a Toyota) and aid from the Interior Ministry in renting a home. Social workers assist former jihadists and their families in making post-release plans for education, employment and, usually, marriage. “Getting married stabilizes a man’s personality,” Hadlaq says. “He thinks more about a long term future and less about himself and his anger.” "

Could PlayStation, candy, and a job actually keep these men from going back to the jihad lifestyle? In the short term, the answer seems to be yes. Remember that many of these young Saudis jumped on the jihad bandwagon only for a lack of better things to do, so they can successfully be reformed. It's unlikely a true believer like Osama bin Laden would stop being a terrorist if he were given a Toyota, but for the wannabe jihadists, that might be more than enough.

Via The Invisible Pink Unicorn blog.
Tags: islam, middle east, religion, saudi arabia, terrorism
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