Religious misunderstanding and idleness are the prime causes for terrorism
The presence of violence in any society indicates that this society suffers from a cultural crisis due to lack of dialogue and understanding. Public libraries and universities as educational institutions seeking to raise cultural awareness, insisting that education and community development must have a profound role in this issue in order to fulfill the objectives it seeks to achieve. Hence, it is necessary that libraries fulfill their role of enlightening the minds of youths, directing them to the righteous path. However, this cultural concept has to be reciprocal with the other educational institutions, complementary in both plans and objectives. Moreover, a study entitled “Culture and the Role of Public Libraries in Modifying the Paths of Intellectual and Behavioral Violence in Terrorism”, carried out by researcher Dr. Najah Al Qublan and using the King Abdul Aziz public Library in Riyadh as a model, agrees that terrorism hinders development and endangers countries’ political, economic, and social security. Thus, he emphasizes the urgent need to create facilities that can usefully consume youths’ energy and invest it in what would benefit the community, in addition to treating social problems in the community through the creation of certain protective measures that help to reduce the causes of terrorism, along with the other governmental and private institutions.
The role required of public libraries
Because public libraries are the most fitting when it comes to educating youths, preventing them from slipping into the pits of terrorism and extremist acts, guiding them into espousing righteous notions, helping them deal with all issues in accordance with proper Islamic law by holding scientific and literary contests. It is also requisite that they put more coordinated efforts to eliminate terrorism, and activate public activities to achieve the following objectives: to clarify the Kingdom’s image and views and demonstrate to the world how much it suffers from terrorism, to help shed some people’s offensive misconceptions that the Kingdom is a country harboring terrorism. On the other hand, officials and Saudi intellectuals should engage in rational dialogue to reach for an accurate analysis of the situation, allow constructive criticism, and establish a realistic understanding of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the awareness of its society, and that what was done by some groups belonging to it in nationality does not represent the rest of the Saudis and their attitudes and ideas. Also, implement the concept of Islam in the hearts of youths as a peaceful, just religion that ensures the security of all nations and peoples, solve young people’s problems, direct them to the best methods in order to accomplish their goals, enable open dialogue which recognizes the other party’s right to express his opinion and point of view, which in turn would enable would-be terrorists and extremists to think out loud and thus allow us to refute their beliefs, and to implement patriotism in the hearts of youths and teach them how to descently deal with others and develop a tolerant spirit.
Hence, we conclude that the main objective of public libraries in espousing a strategy to counter terrorism, is to attempt to limit the phenomenon in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in particular and the Arab region in general, or at least reduce its rates and prevent it from escalating through allowing dialogue and self-expression and clarifying that violence and terrorism are cowardly means.
Problem of the study
The research of this study focuses on the cultural, informational and educational point of views, which link between public libraries and framing youths’ strong personalities, allowing freedom of opinion and decision-making through its cultural role, which all people in society can interact with. As for choosing King Abdul Aziz public Library and its employees for the application of this study, it is because it is a pioneering example for public libraries in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in its outstanding cultural activities and contributions that promote the renaissance of the Saudi society.
Importance of the study
The phenomenon of violence and terrorism in any society cannot be classified as the result of current conditions, for it is a reproduction of an interaction with a number of local and external factors. Addressing the issue of terrorism in Saudi Arabia in political, psychological, social, cultural, and medical studies and even in literature and art, highlights the immenseness of the agony we go through in this country as a result of terrorism, compared to other countries, thus being the victim rather than a country unfairly classified with its people as terrorists. Studying the role that cultural plays against violence and terrorism in this research emphasizes that a person’s culture can elevate and transcend his practices and help establish a positive human society through raising the following questions: What is the role of our public libraries, which are part of the community, in dealing with this phenomenon? What did you do to counter violence and to clarify its agonizing consequences? And what are the local and global opinions?
The study’s objectives and questions
The prime purpose of this study is to identify the role played by public libraries in promoting culture to help counter the phenomenon of violence and terrorism in Saudi society, through the role played by King Abdul Aziz public Library in serving this cause, by disclosing the efforts undertaken by the Library of Cultural Events and Activities, as this library is a case study that represents the role of public libraries. The next objective is to identify its employees’ point of views and their ideas about the roles that can be played by public libraries in activating a campaign against terrorism.
Based on this, the study addresses various primary and secondary issues as demonstrated by the following questions: What are the causes of terrorism as seen by King Abdul Aziz Public Library employees? How convinced are they in their role to counter the phenomenon of terrorism? What are the activities and actions that can enable public libraries to protect community of deviant ideas, as seen by the library staff throughout the research?
The study’s community and its methodology
At the same time, public libraries were selected in order to study their role in countering the phenomenon of terrorism, since their goal is to provide cultural opportunities for all, free of charge, through the sources and services that suit them all. The reason for choosing King Abdul Aziz Public Library for this study in particular is because of its leading role in executing several cultural programs and activities, known to the majority of Saudi society, particuarly in the Riyadh region. This made it worthy of a careful in-depth analysis of its activities, and confidence in its staff’s point of views .
To achieve the objectives of the study and its questions that have already been referred to, we used the descriptive approach, and focused on the case study method and style of documentary analysis to provide an actual view of the situation under the study and a realistic assessment of its cultural role.
Concepts of the study
Public libraries: The public library is a strong and vibrant center for education, culture, and science. It also promotes peace and understanding between nations and peoples, and has been found to reflect the contemporary standpoint of a human’s eligibility in culture at all stages of his life and therefore came to be called “public” library.
Violence: Violence is the opposite of tenderness, which is expressed as sternness in speech, action, opinion, or judgement. The Prophet, peace be upon him, condemned sternness, he said: “The strong is not the one who overcomes people by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself when angry.” For sternness generates what is known as doctrinal, scientific, or intellectual violence and leads to fanaticism and extremism.
Terrorism: Identifying the concept of terrorism is absolutely essential since we cannot confront it without defining it as a term. However, the researcher in this area finds the contrast very evident while searching for a specific definition that researchers agree on. We can only limit ourselves to some of the concepts that describe the amount of the dispute. Some argue that terrorism is a description used to designate those who resort to violence to achieve their political goals. While others argue that terrorism is an assault on human life and public or private property and that the perpetrator of any international crime is considered a terrorist, whether carried out by individuals, groups or countries, and includes acts of racial discrimination. And some define it as every word or conduct used to threaten people with murder, kidnapping, sabotage, destruction, looting and instability, intimidation and seeking corruption in earth. The committee commissioned by the Arab League in 1989, set a general Arabic concept of terrorism as: any organized acts or threats of violence that cause panic by acts of murder, assassination, seizure of hostages, hijackings of planes or ships, or the bombing buildings which creates a state of terror and chaos and disorder.
Difficulty in finding a comprehensive definition of the term terrorism is clear from the brief presentation, particularly since the concept is affected by ideological, cultural and political relations which play a clear role in shaping the character and concept, but it is often used as a term synonymous with violence, but violence is more inclusive than terrorism since violence often reproduces terrorism and not the opposite. Thus, since the current study stems from cultural objectives, it considers terrorism as a behavior leading to the intimidation of innocent people, loss of innocent lives and destruction of their properties.
Highlights and Recommendations
Most King Abdul Aziz Public Library employees who participated in this study attributed the causes of terrorism first to the misconception of Islam, and then to the lack of employment opportunities and general idleness, and vulnerability in encountering foreign provocative calls, foreign domination and Israeli terrorism, insufficient family education, the community’s fanatical religious and political concepts. All agreed that Saudi Arabia’s educational curriculum does not play any part in the phenomenon of terrorism. However, the results showed strong support for the role of public libraries in countering terrorism, and proposed the following activities: seminars to educate young men about the rights of others and accepting them, seminars to educate families and parents about the role required of them, coordination between voluntary organizations to make use of youths’ leisure time, and holding dialogue sessions throughout the year among all classes of society.
Culture is the key element in the improvement of community members and advancement of society, by improving their positive dialogue abilities, preventing intolerance, opinionation, extremism and violence that contribute to terrorism. Hence, from this point of view the study looks at the role of public libraries and their activities and programs in addressing the phenomenon of terrorism, using King Abdul Aziz Public Library as a model to find a way to activate the role of public libraries in this case through a questionnaire that explores the extent of the employees’ conviction in their role to address the phenomenon of terrorism and the constraints which they consider as a hurdle in carrying out programs related to this subject, together with an analysis of documents and reports that monitor the activities of the library and its programs in general to illustrate the paths of those activities and trends.