Riyadh: Saudi Arabia is under the onslaught of an external cyber war aimed at instigating violence and religious sectarianism, according to senior Saudi officials.

"There are about 6,000 websites engaged in spreading extremism across the world.
"The origin of these sites that have direct link with terrorism is the West,” said Dr Abdul Rahman Al Hadlaq, director general of the Intellectual Security Department at the Ministry of Interior.

Presenting a working paper at a seminar on Da’wa sites here on Friday, Dr Al Hadlaq said that there is a dubious attempt to target religion while introducing the concepts of terrorism through the Internet.

“The Western experts label some religious sites as sites engaged in promoting violence and extremism,” he said. Dr Al Hadlaq noted that the Ministry of Interior has worked out two separate strategies to confront terror and extremism.

“We have both tender and touch forces to implement these strategies. The tender force relies on confronting ideology with ideology while the tough force is performing such tasks as blocking or shutting up harmful sites in addition to take up trial procedures of those involved in terror acts thorough the Internet,” he said.

Meanwhile, Shaikh Abdul Monem Al Moshawwah, head of the “Silent Campaign” to Correct Extremist Thoughts under the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, warned against the external sectarian agencies who misuse the social networking site of Facebook and other sites to provoke Shiites in the Kingdom in order to create sedition and unrest.

“About 98 per cent of those who work behind these acts are not Saudis.
It was revealed when tracked down their IDs that they are from either Iran or Iraq,” he said, while noting that all the websites that called for making troubles in the Shiite-dominated eastern region of Qateef were external forces and there were only two per cent of Saudis among them.

Shaikh Al Moshawwah noted that Saudi Arabia is facing a cyber war being waged by external forces who spread false reports with an objective of subversion.

“The Campaign headed by me tried its best to hold dialogue with these agencies but they refused to do so.
"This is because of their ulterior motive of instigating violence and unrest in the Kingdom,” he said.

Shaikh Al Moshawwah commended the Shiite community of Qateef for their loyalty to the leaders and nation of Saudi Arabia.

“Most of the Shiites in Qateef are peace-loving people. They are eager to maintain security and stability of Saudi Arabia. The intelligent people among them do not want to create any unrest or troubles in the region,” he added.