RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA – With all the attention paid to attacks against Western targets, we are often less informed about the numerous attacks carried out on a daily basis in non-Western countries.
Lately there has been a lot of hand-wringing and fearmongering about the threat of Right Wing Extremism (RWE), especially in what is known as the Western World (Europe and North America mostly).
Suffice it to say that despite calls to divert finite counter-terrorism resources to stopping RWE attacks which do not seem to have materialised (yet? ever?), I strongly believe the greatest threat remains Islamist Extremism. This is especially true for the areas of the world that see the most terrorism: Africa and the Middle East.
One of the countries in the Arabian Peninsula less talked about as a victim of terrorism, at least compared to its neighbours, is Saudi Arabia. When it comes to terrorism, Saudi is often seen as more of a supporter of certain terrorist movements due to its leadership in the Wahhabi movement (a particularly intolerant form of Islam that has inspired such groups as Al Shabaab and Al Qaeda).
But this does not mean that the kingdom has not itself been the victim of terrorist attacks.
On this day in 2004
A suicide bomber detonated his vehicle at the gates of a government building in Riyadh that served as the headquarters for both traffic police and emergency services. Five people were killed in the blast and another 148 were injured. The attack went unclaimed but authorities suspected it was carried out by either Al Qaeda terrorists or individuals inspired by them.
Ironically, or perhaps purposefully, the attack occurred on the second of a four-day international conference on terrorism calling for peace and tolerance. Talk about disheartening.
Muslims meeting here were shocked to the core to see terrorist activities coinciding with the conference on terror.Dr. Abdallah Al-Hamoud, chairman of the information center of the conference
If you were to announce to the countries that struggle most with terrorism, which does include Saudi Arabia, that RWE is the real threat, I doubt very much you would be met with much more than a confused stare or even incredulous anger.
These countries which suffer almost daily attacks have no time for your handwringing. They are burdened enough as it is, and their burden is Islamist in nature.
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