The 9/11 attacks Many of the abductors were Saudi nationals Saudi Arabia claims it has changed
The United States marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center. Yet the memories of that attack are fresh in all hearts and minds. People around the world remember where they were that day and what they were doing. After the first plane crashed into the tower, people saw the plane crash directly into the second tower. Twenty years later, the Biden administration has been reviewing Saudi Arabia’s relations since that historic day, as 15 of the 19 abductors were Saudi nationals.
Growing up in Saudi Arabia encouraged radicalization
The Saudi government has consistently denied any involvement in the 9/11 attacks. CBS News’ Holly Williams speaks to people convicted of terrorist crimes in a Saudi prison. Some inmates told him that growing up in an ultra-Orthodox Islamic state gave rise to his extremism. Saudi officials told CBS News they were resolving the issue. The Saudi government allowed Williams to visit al-Hayr in prison, and he was guided by an inmate.
The Saudi national joined the Taliban
Yasar Assam Hamdi was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He was born an American citizen and his parents were Saudi. When he was five, his family moved to Saudi Arabia. Prior to the 9/11 attacks, Hamdi had traveled to Afghanistan for training with the Taliban, where he was captured by US forces. He began training for extremism.
Claiming extremist messages in schools
Hamdi relinquished his US citizenship and returned to Saudi Arabia as a free man. He was later arrested by Saudi authorities. Many prisoners claim that as they grew up in an Islamic country, they were exposed to extremism and violence. Asked if he had seen and heard the growing extremist message in Saudi schools and mosques? Hamdi’s answer was ‘absolutely’.
Saudi Arabia is demanding change
The Saudi government wants to show that it has changed completely. The government says it is now promoting moderate Islam. Terrorist preaching is banned. Women are given more freedom with the right to drive. School books that once promoted violence against non-Muslims have been rewritten.
Hamdi said he was a terrorist but not now. He said, ‘Now I love America.’ Saudi Arabia has won praise for its efforts to fight terrorism and modernize its society. However, his human rights record is being criticized.
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