I Went to Qatif Nervous and Returned Pleased
Saudishia.com - 18 / 12 / 2014 - 9:33 am

Al Jazeera Newspaper                                                                
December 15, 2014
Jasser Al-Herbish

Last weekend I was in Qatif,   I was suspicious to be there due to what is published in social media and some people's talks. Contrary to what I have heard and read, the time I spent in Qatif was one of the best days in my life.       

I was invited to participate in a seminar in Diwaniya Cultural Forum. I found  that most of the seminars held in Qatif focus on constructive dialogue in the path of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques' efforts to enhance openness, mutual understanding, coexistence and citizenship.  

The lecture was a debate between two Saudi intellectuals who are concerned about security and stability of the state and seek to combat sectarian strife. The speakers were Dr. Khalid al-Dakhil from Riyadh and Dr. Badr Al-Ibrahim from Qatif.

The seminar was about problems facing the Arab region due to the conflict between political Islam and civil democracy and the consequences of such disputes on the present and the future.

I went there and my head was full of doubts which I discovered lately that they were wrong. I also expected to witness a tense atmosphere between the participants and questioning of loyalty, yet I found that the situation in Qatif is the same as in Riyadh and all over the world. 

The seminar was dominated by a sense of citizenship and concentrated on how to maintain security and stability of the state and protect it from terrorism.

I realized through the crowed from Sunnis and Shias and from the debate that Shias sharing the same concerns like other Saudi citizens.   

Misguided ideologies target both Shia and Sunni in order to fuel sectarian strife in the region.

People are keeping silent about the rumors and fabrications which spread widely in Shia and Sunni circles, and instead of combating

them simply denounce and warn their children from dealing with different groups.  

I am talking about myself when I went to Qatif nervous and suspicious and returned pleased. Thanks for Qatif citizens and I said to them we will stay partners in the state for ever.