Saudi Arabia’s decision to declare regional militant and insurgent groups, including the Muslim Brotherhood, “terrorist entities” was strongly favored by a cross-section of Saudi citizens and Arab expats on Saturday.
They hailed the Saudi decision, saying it is “an important move in the right direction,” while calling on Arab states to unite against nations and groups promoting terrorism.
Well-known columnist Abdul Rahman Al-Rashed said many groups were organized in the name of Islam, “jihad,” and the oppressed. Some of these groups had political projects, while most were armed groups with violence on their agenda, he said.
“These groups claim that their external activities were against their enemies, while in fact, their ultimate target is Saudi Arabia. There is no need to argue about the validity of the accusations against groups that succeed in misleading people by claiming to be innocent and victims of the hostility against Islam.”
He added that the latest examples of such groups include the Al-Qaeda affiliated Al-Nusra Front and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).
Justice Minister Muhammad Al-Eissa told Al-Arabiya that the Kingdom’s security and stability is a red line that must not be compromised.
Individuals who choose to take advantage of the grace period offered by the government will be spared, he said.
Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, Interior Ministry spokesperson, told Al-Arabiya that this decision was made to bring an end to terrorism and to protect youth from being exploited by terrorist groups.
The committee, he said, would not hesitate to add new names to the list.
“The blacklisting of these organizations is a welcomed move made by the Saudi government,” said Osama R. Al-Ghunaim, a senior functionary associated with the Charity for the Care of Saudi Families Abroad. He said that these regional extremist organizations, including the Muslim Brotherhood, continue to instigate violence in the Middle East and abroad.
Saudi Arabia also banned the display and sale of all Muslim Brotherhood books and literature at the Riyadh book fair.
The Kingdom on Friday blacklisted the Muslim Brotherhood, the Hezbollah, the ISIS and the Al-Nusra Front and declared them terrorist organizations.
Egypt’s interim government designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization last year. The majority of Saudi citizens and Arab expatriates welcomed the decision, while some of them reserved comment.
Saleh Al-Khatlan, deputy chief of the National Society of Human Rights (NSHR), refused to speak on the issue, saying “I have no comments on this issue now.”
Sheikh Abdulrahman Al-Jeraisy, chairman of the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, welcomed the decision, but did not provide further comment. A few Shoura members and academicians contacted by Arab News preferred to give their comments after watching how the situation unfolds in the region.
Badr Al-Otaibi, a Saudi businessman, said that the decision was made following an increase in terrorist attacks and the nasty role being played by these groups. “The labeling of the groups as terrorists comes after it became clear for the Kingdom and Arab countries that these organizations are threatening peace and security in the region,” he said.
“Seeing the region falling into the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood, the ISIS or the Al-Nusra Front is a great danger,” said Al-Otaibi, adding that 30 men were convicted early this year by the UAE for establishing a Muslim Brotherhood branch in that country.
Members belonging to the Al-Nusra Front and Muslim Brotherhood have been sending millions of dollars to their parent organizations to create unrest in the region, said Esam Al-Sadiq, a Saudi manager working for a local company.
“The Al-Nusra is, in fact, a branch of Al-Qaeda operating in Syria,” said Fahd M. Al-Onaizi, chairman of the EBS Group, while terming the Saudi government’s declaration a “right step.”
Al-Onaizi also called on government agencies in the Kingdom and the Arab world to tighten the noose around those funding these organizations.

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