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July 12th, 2011
From Jihad to Rehab


Fifteen of the 19 hijackers in the attacks of September 11, 2001 were from Saudi Arabia. In the aftermath of the attacks, the Saudi government aggressively pursued domestic terrorists, dismantling Al Qaeda cells and rounding up thousands of people for questioning. But after the bombings on its own soil in Riyadh in 2003, the Saudi government adopted a softer approach to counterterrorism – therapy. This new method aims to counter the fanatical ideology of detainees. Islamic religious scholars and leaders challenge the detainee’s violent interpretation of the Koran and highlight peaceful and charitable aspects of Islam. Egypt, Singapore, Indonesia, and the United States in Iraq are among the countries implementing similar programs.


In From Jihad to Rehab, Canadian journalist Nancy Durham takes us inside a rehabilitation center in Saudi Arabia, where art therapy and religious re-education are being used to reform militant jihadists, like Ahmed al-Shaya, who went to Iraq on a suicide mission in 2004 where he killed 12 people but survived himself. We meet Juma Al-Dossary who has just returned to Saudi Arabia after spending six years in Guantanamo, and speak with Dr. Awad Alymai, the detainees’ art therapist, about his patients’ transformation.

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