Saudi Gazette report
RIYADH – A number of young Saudi men and women have emphasized the need for further strengthening the bonds of cohesion among all members of Saudi society.
The young citizens were unanimous in their view that there is no room for sectarianism in the country where Sunnis and Shiites have lived in peaceful coexistence for a long time. They reiterated their resolve to safeguard the unity and integrity of the nation as well as to foil all attempts to undermine the security and stability of the country. They said patriotism is an integral part of faith, and that they are committed to protecting the Kingdom and its religion, according to a report in Al-Riyadh Arabic daily.
Shahanaz Al-Muhammad, a young woman, said the nation is for all and religion is the driving force for all citizens. “Through these two great institutions, we must eradicate sectarianism. Islam does not promote any single school of thought and it is against all forms of sectarianism, extremism and dogmatism,” she said, while noting that the emergence of social networking sites is one of the major factors that have helped spread such negative tendencies.
Al-Muhammad accused certain people with vested interests and dubious political agenda with misusing social media. “We have to confront this by not allowing these elements to add fuel to the fire by inciting sectarian sentiments.”
Muaad Al-Amri, a university student, said sectarianism is a strong political weapon used by external forces. “We should not give in to their machinations. There are several sects and schools of thought in the Kingdom and all of them co-exist in a peaceful and harmonious way. Unfortunately, a section of the media and some political elements as well as a few cultural and religious figures are trying to sow seeds of disunity among people,” he said.
Echoing the same view, Yazeed Al-Otaibi, another student, underlined the need for spreading awareness on the demerits and negative repercussions of sectarianism. “Emphasis shall be given to develop an inclusive culture as an effective means to rid sectarianism and racism from society,” he said while blaming a section of the media for instigating sectarianism.
On his part, Ibtisam Muhammad, an educational expert, said there are some elements of sectarianism present in any society with a large number of people from different backgrounds. “The main thing is to respect all members of society, and the focal point in dealing with other members shall be the humane considerations taught by our religion. Ridiculing a sect by members of another sect will only lead to friction in society,” he said while stressing the need for preventing such tendencies at any cost.
Muataz Al-Harbi, a university student, said the law of the land does not differentiate between sects, tribes or regions. “There are some elements in society that are creating divisions among people. Therefore, we have to give first priority to the unity and cohesion of the nation above everything else; we have to deal with all members of society equally,” he said.
Al-Harbi drew attention to peaceful coexistence and mutual respect among students and staff of various backgrounds at his university.
Citizen Khaled Al-Barak rejected the idea of dealing with people in accordance with their religion, sect or school of thought. “Our behavior and dealings with all members of society should be in a decent and gentle manner. We have to take into account the fact that our nation is the force that binds all of us.”
Al-Barak called on all citizens to realize the fact that division in any country or entity starts with weakening of national cohesion and this helps those who have vested interests and ulterior motives to undermine the security and stability of that country.