Two brothers pledging allegiance to the Islamic State were arrested Friday for murdering their own parents in the Saudi capital of Riyadh.
Khaled and Saleh Al-Arini, both 20, beheaded their 67-year-old mother and fatally stabbed their 73-year-old father, according to Saudi government officials. The parents reportedly objected to their plan to travel to Syria to fight for the self-declared caliphate that straddles Syria and Iraq.
The murder took place at the family compound in Riyadh Friday. The two brothers also allegedly stabbed their younger brother at the family home and a Filipino employee of the family. Police arrested them the same day. A security source said the twins killed their mother after she threatened to inform the authorities about their plans to travel and join the Islamic State.
“The culprits Khaled and Saleh, the sons of Ibrahim Bin Ali Al-Arini, were proven to have embraced the takfiri line,” Saudi Minister of the Interior Mansour Al-Turki said in a statement. A takfiri is a Sunni Muslim who accuses another Muslim of being an infidel or an apostate.
The young men didn’t have any criminal records. According to several Saudi media sources, the alleged criminals were on the list of the top students at a Riyadh university.
“I am not surprised by this news, because I know the level of suppression of human conscience of the fanatical followers of Islamicist groups,” said Dr. Tawfik Hamid, an expert in cognitive psychology, who was a radical Islamist in Cairo as a teenager.
“When I lived this experience myself, I was willing to do anything to harm the enemies of God. The radicals often cite the Biblical patriarch Abraham, who was willing to kill his own son. They use such examples to insist that if you seek to obey God, you will do anything, even if it conflicts with your conscience,” Hamid told American Media Institute. “They think of their mothers and fathers as enemies of Allah and compare them to the early enemies of the Prophet.”
Naser Al-Omar, a major Saudi cleric, said the twins were following a “takfiri line.” Al-Omar has issued fiery takfir fatwas against the vast majority of Muslims on Earth and has a website that promotes this line of thinking.
Several Saudi clerics acknowledge that the Islamic State is a Salafist branch of Wahabbi Islam, the official religion of Saudi Arabia.
Many in the wealthy Gulf state are alarmed that other Saudi citizens have been murdered by blood relatives who say they are implementing fatwas to kill their relatives whose faith is suspect.
Two Saudi brothers executed their cousin, a Saudi soldier, in September 2015, after luring him to the desert in Ha'il. A video posted on YouTube by user Ahmad Osman shows the killing along with a pledge of allegiance to the Islamic State. “Beautiful clip preacher Mishan Buqami which speaks about the crime committed against his cousin Aldaasha Bhaal,” is Osman's description of the video, which has garnered more than 300 likes and more than 70,000 views.
After killing three more people, the brothers were cornered by Saudi security forces. One of the brothers, 16-year-old Abdul-Aziz Radi Ayash al-Anzi was killed, while 22-year-old Saad Radi Ayash al-Anzi was arrested. The killers' father told a London-based Arabic magazine that his sons were spending a lot of time on the Internet. The Islamic State issued a statement praising the attack.
The Saudi police also recently reported that they have captured a former army official in his 50s who beheaded his wife in the Rimah governorate north of Riyadh. A local newspaper said the police found Islamic State documents in the killer's house.
Ali Sada, editor of Daesh Daily, contributed to this report.