The importance of this development cannot be overstated

I borrow my post title from a comment made by Steve in his post on this at Threats Watch. He tipped me off to this, and he’s right on the money. It’s a jaw-dropper, a never-thought-I’d-see-this announcement:

“Deceit in the Name of Jihad”, A Saudi Mini-Series

According to the Telegraph:

The five-part series, Deceit in the Name of Jihad, is being aired in prime time on Saudi state television and the satellite channel, Al Arabiya. It includes interviews with Saudis who claim to have fought alongside Muslim fanatics in Afghanistan and Iraq before realising they had been “brainwashed” by al-Qaeda recruiters.

After the programme there is an unprecedented live phone-in, during which callers are encouraged to debate the “deviant ideology” of militant Islam.

Can you believe that? I’ve long been concerned that Saudi was either acting too slowly or not acting at all to confront the issue.

Earlier this year, Saudi newspapers published interviews with young Saudis who changed their minds after volunteering to fight in Iraq because, they said, they were told their only role would be as suicide bombers. Elsewhere in the Arab world, films and soap operas have addressed the taboos of terrorism, often attracting the wrath of extremist groups. Last year, a multi-part love story set during the Taliban rule in Afghanistan was dropped by broadcasters in Jordan and Qatar after threats. “We will strike, God willing, satellite channels showing this soap opera,” said a group calling itself the Mudjahadeen Brigades of Iraq and Syria.

But this year, two serials broadcast daily during the holy month of Ramadan captivated audiences in the Arab world. Beautiful Maidens portrayed an Islamist extremist plot to blow up a Saudi housing compound occupied by Muslims, and The Rugged Path tackled the subject of corruption among militants in Afghanistan.

This is the sort of thing we need to see. And more of it. This struggle will take generations, but it has to start somewhere. Sometime.

As Steve writes:

The War on Terror will not be won by the American war machine. It will be won through developments like this from within the Middle East and elsewhere. But to deny that changes and developments like this one would have ever occurred without the freeing of over 50 million people and multiple democratic elections as the direct result of the actions of American military operations is to be willfully blind.

True, but rest assured that there will be no shortage of the “willfully blind”.


  1. It’s one step down the long, long road to forging a bidirectional tolerance with the majority of foreign Muslims, I think. We’ve all been agreeing for a while now there has to be a grassroots change. It’s just not Kosher (ahem) for people who claim they love peace to fail to condemn terrorism. I sure hope this works out in the long run, in the way I think it could. We may find all the great Muslim nations on ‘our side’ with a good spread of liberty and prosperity for them. Chances are we’ll be facing down the next big threat or problem with them. Oh well, I can dream…

  2. Yes, but the trouble is Islam says that deceit is ok against infidels, right? So how can we believe anything from these folks? A long war? Maybe 10 centuries to go?

  3. John, Apart from religion and culture these people are basically the same as us. They have the same desires and drives, etc. In Iraq and Afghanistan, the culture is slowly changing from failure to success, from humiliation to pride, etc. This should have the effect of moderating religion like it has elsewhere in the past. I don’t know exactly what will happen but I suspect that there will be a lot more incentives for them to work to advance their own interests in a less violent and more constructive way. I don’t think it will take anywhere near ‘ten centuries’. But there are other countries which still have the old culture and it will take longer for the effect to be felt there, if it will be at all. We’ll see…