Rehab program helps 3,300 in 12 years

Rehab program helps 3,300 in 12 years

Prince Muhammad Bin Naif Center for Counseling and Care

By Asthma Bouzayan

RIYADH — Since its establishment in 2005, Prince Muhammad Bin Naif Center for Counseling and Care has helped 3,300 people shed their deviant beliefs and extremist ideologies and come to the straight path.

According to the center›s sources, the graduates included 122 highly dangerous terrorists who were transferred to the center from the notorious US prison camp on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The center, which has a staff of 400 experts and employees, has helped about 80 percent of the graduates to assimilate in society and live as normal citizens, they said.

The sources, however, said a number of people who attended the rehabilitation programs would not give up on their deviant ideologies and were sent back to prison.

They said some of the terrorists would not repent their actions even after receiving serious counseling. They had traveled to conflict zones in Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the terrorists.

Maj. Gen. Nasser Al-Mutairi, director of the center, said religious advice is given to extremists who were not directly involved in deadly terrorist operations and have already served their prison time.

“We are focusing on ideological deviation. We rehabilitate extremists who are not directly involved in killing religiously, socially and economically to help them live like normal citizens,” he said.

“We treat their deviant mentality, which is the root cause of terrorism. We depend on preventive strategies, advice, care and counseling,” he added.

Mutairi said the center is cooperating with many agencies, including the Supreme Council of Senior Scholars, the ministries of Islamic Affairs, Call and Guidance, Culture and Information, Labor and Social Development and others to achieve its goals.

“We also cooperate with a number of international organizations that harness extremism,” he said.

Mutairi said the center is a tool for inculcating moderation and ideological, psychological and social balance in the minds of the counselees.

“The center is a correctional and educational facility promoting knowledge and behavioral skills,” he said.

The director said the center has become a recognized facility in the world and has close links of cooperation with 13 countries.

“More than 313 international delegations have so far visited the center to benefit from its experience,” he added.