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Wednesday, December 28, 2005 

Persecution of non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia

I can't say I was surprised by this news. It's certainly possible, and this report (via IRIS Blog) confirms, that the Saudis are quite capable of discriminating against and persecuting non-Muslim foreign workers on Saudi turf, and have. Here, it's a man from India who'd been working at a gas station who was sentenced to an eye gouging for acting in self-defense. As IRIS says:
The big story here is not the brutality of the Saudi justice system. What is never reported is that because non-Muslim testimony has half the weight of a Muslim's in a sharia court, non-Muslims are almost always the losers of disputes. (The same holds true for women.) In this case, for example, an Indian gas station worker pointlessly testified that the injury he inflicted was in self-defense.

This presents enormous potential for abuse, even disregarding corruption and the routine hostility toward the "other" in the Muslim world. This is how the most unbelievable items are routinely stolen from Christians, for example, such as land and houses in the West Bank and Gaza. It is one reason why Christians are fleeing nearly every country with Muslim rule.
And it's yet one more reason why US dealings in the oil business with the House of Saud must stop, and the ANWR oil drilling program must be approved. Keep reading the information provided for more.

And while we're on the subject, Lost Budgie Blog discusses how one of the House of Saud's many fascist courts sentenced an Indonesian maid to 79 lashes for "falsely accusing" her Saudi employer, or, more precisely, enslaver, of the abuse he subjected her to when tying her up for about a month for not doing housecleaning properly, as told in this article from Arab News. Absolute misogyny. (Update: now the Saudi court has committed an additional crime against the maid, by declaring her "guilty of lying", the photographs for evidence notwithstanding, and the male enslaver "innocent" due to "lack of evidence". And just like the maid, the enslaver's wife was also sentenced to receiving lashes. Which just shows why democratic countries cannot continue the futile charade of doing business with the House of Saud, whether in oil sales or anything else.)

Also, an earlier article that's just as important: The NY Sun reports that Saudi Arabia arrested 40 Christians for proselytizing, at the very same time that the crown prince Abdullah travelled to Texas to talk with president Bush about the fact that "tolerance must extend to those of all faiths and practices", while at the same time nullifying everything he says:
Saudi state-controlled newspapers reported on April 23 that two days earlier, security forces rounded up 40 men, women, and children of Pakistani citizenship who were worshipping at an abandoned villa in western Riyadh, according to translations provided by American-based Saudi monitors.

Al-Riyadh newspaper quoted a security official as saying that the Christians were arrested for "trying to spread their poisonous religious beliefs to others through the distribution of books and pamphlets," the Saudi Institute in Washington, D.C., said in a report.

That the arrests occurred just hours before Mr. Abdullah flew to Texas for a friendly meeting with Mr. Bush underscored the gap between Saudi pledges to the White House and its actions at home.

"What they are doing is saying one thing in English and giving another signal to their own people," said Nina Shea, the director of the Center for Religious Freedom of Freedom House, a human rights organization. "They are saying to the hard-liners at home that nothing is going to change. It's a way of speaking out of both sides of their mouth."
Saudi Arabia is one more - perhaps the most important - part of the middle east that is in dire need of democratizing. Especially when you see that the following goes on there:
While the government officially allows non-Muslims to practice their religions at home and in private, the report said, authorities often do not respect the law.

The Saudi government has also been found to promote religious intolerance abroad. The Center for Religious Freedom of Freedom House issued a report in January that said pamphlets found in mosques in America carried an assertion from the Saudi Ministry of Islamic Affairs that Muslims who convert "should be killed."
This is a very serious matter that's going to have to be paid sharp attention to, if we're ever to see to it that Saudi Arabia proves that it can repect human and religious rights.

Also available at Adam's Blog, Bloggin' Out Loud, bRight and Early, Cao's Blog, Is it Just Me, Jo's Cafe, MacStansbury.Org, NIF, Outside the Beltway, Point Five, The Right Nation, Stop the ACLU.

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Avi

An extremely insightful book written by carmen bin laden (she is swiss and married one of the brothers back in the early 70's) is called inside the kingdom). it has made me appreciate life in everyway. SA is a sick, sick country and she explains how the topography of that county lends itself to how sick the people are with it's iscolation and the vicious, vicious sandstorms and heat and the brutal ways women and "lesser" people such as "slaves" are treated (let alone non-muslims) just blacks who are muslims.

great coverage of what is going on in australia by the way. hope you got my info on rupert murdoch

chag samaeach!

avi

i forgot to add i read something deeply distubing going on (most likely not new) in egypt at www.coptic.net whereby they are kidnapping coptic girls

but the new aspect is that they are now bringing them into the palestinian terrirories and hiding them!!

this is very horrifying as well.

Be Well and stay safe

L'hetrahot

Thanks. I'll visit the Coptic website as well.

By the way, two books you might be interested in include "Not Without My Daughter" by Betty Mahmoody, which you may know about already, and, "At the Drop of a Veil" by Marianne Alireza (I think that's the correct title).

Hag sameach.

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