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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Art therapy vs terrorism

The Economist reports that Saudi Arabia has taken a creative approach to rehabilitating Islamists who are deemed to not be hard-core militants:

Those due for release after serving short sentences for, say, fighting in Iraq undergo rehabilitation in a low-security holiday camp outside Riyadh. Other inmates have served time at Guantánamo Bay. The young men spend their days in religious discussions, art therapy, sports, vocational training and psychological assessments.

One of those who recently attended the course was 30-year-old Abdallah al-Sufyani, a lovelorn former university student from Taif. He decided to go to Iraq in 2003 after his secret girlfriend was made to marry another man. He wanted to die, but believed he would go to hell if he committed suicide. His answer was to fight the Americans and hope he would be killed as a martyr. But he survived and eventually returned home. “I did not find the truth in Iraq,” he says. “I found Muslims killing Muslims, Iraqis killing Iraqis.” Now, with the help of the Saudi government, he hopes to write a book and launch a poetry magazine.

Of course, there's always the danger that people who pretend they'll launch a poetry magazine will launch something else. But it does make sense to try to divide enemies into those who are irreconciliable and those who are not.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thats why Art therapy rules! and art can heal the world!