There’s a full-court press, likely at the instigation of Saudi Arabia’s government, to discourage would-be jihadis from traveling up to Syria. Saudi Gazette/Okaz report that a wide array of authority figures are warning enthusiastic youths of the potential dangers and about how their brothers and cousins fell into traps in Afghanistan, Chechnya, and Iraq. Usefully, they are pointing out that appearances can deceive and that it’s hard to determine ulterior motives from a distance.
Instead, they say, they should be working from within the Saudi system that is already praying for and raising funds for humanitarian assistance. Government efforts to exclude zealot preachers from Saudi mosques is also applauded.
Do not repeat Afghan mistake in Syria, Saudi zealots warned
Nader Al-Enezi | Okaz/Saudi Gazette
TABUK/MAKKAH — A number of scholars, intellectuals and academics have warned the Saudi youth against listening to calls for Jihad in Syria to prevent a similar mistake some youngsters made when they went to Afghanistan and Iraq in the past, heeding such calls.
Dr. Hatim Al-Awni, a member of Shoura Council, said those who try to deceive the youth and encourage them to go to Syria for Jihad should be stopped. “They prey on the feelings of young men who want to help the oppressed Syrians. Many a young man fell for this trick and went to Afghanistan and Iraq for the same purpose and ended up in prison. The same fate awaits those young men who listen to calls for Jihad in Syria,” he said.
In Al-Awni’s opinion, support for the Syrian people should come only through official Saudi channels. He also believes that there are courageous men among the Syrian people who will achieve their demands for freedom, dignity and justice. “Those brave men need support through official channels,” he added.
Abdullah Al-Harthy, director of student extracurricular activities at Tabuk Schools, said the Syrian people need “our supplications and prayers as well as financial aid.”
“The youth should be careful not to go to Syria in the name of Jihad as they might get involved with organizations that have hidden motives,” he warned.