Saudis Attempt To Deprogram Jihadists

TV/Radio Broadcast NPR's Talk of the Nation
A counseling program in Saudi Arabia tries to alter the radical outlook of Islamic militants. Christopher Boucek, a Middle East scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, takes us inside the program and explains why it is considered a model for other countries.
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The news that Yemen released 160 suspected al Qaeda members in early February raised once again the question of what to do with jihadist detainees. A Saudi program designed to rehabilitate former terrorists – including former Guantanamo detainees – uses religious dialogue and social support to convince jihadists to renounce violence and correct the misreading of Islam often used to justify their actions. With a recidivism rate in the single digits, the Saudi experience could provide insights as the Obama administration moves ahead with plans to close Guantanamo.

Christopher Boucek spoke with NPR’s Neal Conan on Talk of the Nation about Saudi Arabia’s rehabilitation program.

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About the Middle East Program

The Carnegie Middle East Program combines in-depth local knowledge with incisive comparative analysis to examine economic, sociopolitical, and strategic interests in the Arab world. Through detailed country studies and the exploration of key crosscutting themes, the Carnegie Middle East Program, in coordination with the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut, provides analysis and recommendations in both English and Arabic that are deeply informed by knowledge and views from the region. The program has special expertise in political reform and Islamist participation in pluralistic politics.


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