Terrorism and sectarianism when combined pose immense danger

Hassan Al Mustafa

TWO important security events took place in Saudi Arabia within a few days. A terrorist
attack in the eastern city of Saihat, where two security men were killed after being attacked by an armed group who fled afterward.
The second was the announcement by the Saudi Interior Ministry of the Al-Harazat cell, which included 46 members who were arrested. The cell was responsible for the attack on the Prophet’s Mosque in July 2016.
Despite the ideological and doctrinal differences between the two groups, the common factor between them is that they are both armed. Violence is their way of imposing ideas, breaking the law and the authority of the “state”.
Exclusionary behavior: Terrorism is not related to a specific doctrine, but rather is an exclusionary behavior practiced by groups with an unilateral, radical thinking that does not believe in the right of the other person to have different opinion, or in conversation as a means of communication, change and reform.
The stand against violence must be clear, without ambiguity or hesitation because the danger of raising weapons against security personnel and citizens, goes beyond the goals declared by fundamentalist groups, which threatens to undermine civil peace, and the spreading of social and sectarian conflicts.
Terrorism is not related to a specific doctrine, but rather is an exclusionary behavior practiced by groups with an unilateral, radical thinking that does not believe in the right of the other person to have different opinion, or in conversation as a means of communication, change and reform.
At the same level of danger comes the question of “sectarianism”, as a symbolic and intellectual terrorism that establishes physical violence, gives legitimacy to the accusation of disbelief, exclusion and desecration of the other.
After every terrorist act in Saudi Arabia we find that the social networking sites are filled with many provocative tweets that pushes elements of society into conflict.
Incitement: Hundreds of tweets incite those following one doctrine against the other. Questions that have a sectarian and racist nature would increase the level of social tension.
Intellectuals should pay attention to the game of ‘sectarian questioning’ and not to fall into its trap. It is a game that supports the ‘doctrine’ instead of ‘country’, of which each believer wants to present themselves as if they are the owners of original thought and pure blood!.
It is strange that terrorism is ascribed to a particular city or sect, or to the people of Buraydah, Qatif, Riyadh or Abha, and demand declaration of their innocence of terrorism every time a member from these cities points out his blind gun towards the citizens, repeating their clear position over and over, as desired by ‘Twitter’ provocateurs.
The common logic in social media most of the time is common, instinctive logic, and tends to overwhelm the individual by narrow ‘sub-identities’.
The right vision requires that we reject racism, sectarianism and incitement, at the same time rejecting terrorism and violence.
Otherwise, we will be contributing to the spread of conflicts instead of suppressing them.

—Courtesy: AA
[Hassan AlMustafa is Saudi journalist with interest in Middle East and Gulf politics. His writing focuses on social media, Arab youth affairs and Middle Eastern societal matters. His twitter handle is @halmustafa.]

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