Translating Words, Interpreting Events

Saudi Hypocrisy At Its Best

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FrontPage Magazine

Few things offer surreal experiences as when Islam and the West interact—when 7th century primordialism encounters 21st century relativism.  Consider the issue of “interfaith dialogue.”  In principle, it is a decent thing: Christians, Jews, Muslims, and others trying to reach a common ground and professing mutual respect.  But what does one make of the gross contradictions that emerge when a human-rights violating nation calls for “dialogue,” even as it enforces religious intolerance on its own turf?

U.S. President Obama bowing before Saudi King Abdullah in 2009

Enter Saudi Arabia.  Birthplace of Islam, the Arabian kingdom is also the one Muslim nation that regularly sponsors interfaith initiatives in the West—even as its official policy back home is to demonize and persecute the very faiths it claims to want to have an interfaith dialogue with.

Back in 2008, for example, in what was deemed an unprecedented move, Saudi King Abdullah “made an impassioned plea for dialogue among Muslims, Christians, and Jews,” going so far as to refer to the latter two as “our brothers.”  His stated goal was to develop “respect among religions.”

The Saudi monarch’s most recent initiative reached fruition on November 26 2012, when the King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz International Center for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue was launched in the Austrian capital, Vienna. According to its own website, the center “was founded to enable, empower and encourage dialogue among followers of different religions and cultures around the world.”  Lending international legitimacy to this Saudi gesture of goodwill, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was among those who attended the opening.

While all this ostensibly sounds well and good, consider the many incongruities, the many absurdities—initially demonstrated by the simple fact that Saudi Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, who was quoted praising the Austrian-based center as proof that “Islam is a religion of dialogue and understanding and not a religion of enmity, fanaticism, and violence,” is also on record calling Jews “monkeys and pigs” and Christians “cross worshippers.”

Nor is he just a run-of-the-mill sheikh: he is the government-appointed imam of Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mosque in Mecca—Islam’s holiest site, where Christians, Jews, and others are routinely condemned and cursed during the prayers of the faithful.

But this is not surprising. Even the State Department’s most recent internal religious freedom report on Saudi Arabia notes that “Freedom of religion is neither recognized nor protected under the law and is severely restricted in practice.  The public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited, and there is no separation between state and religion.”

And this is the key point: Saudi Arabia’s brand of religious intolerance is not a product of the “Arab street,” terrorists, or mob violence.  It is institutionalized; it is enforced by the state itself.  In other words, religious intolerance is being implemented by the very people who claim to want to have dialogue with Christians and Jews under the umbrella of “tolerance” and “mutual respect.”

In this context, what, exactly, do they wish to talk about?

Do they wish to talk about how the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia—yet another top ranked Saudi religious official—declared that it is “necessary to destroy all the churches of the region,”  basing his verdict on the commands of Muslim prophet Muhammad?

Do they wish to talk about how, despite promising to reform their school textbooks, the Saudi education system continues to indoctrinate Muslim children with hatred and incitement, teaching that “Christians are the enemies of the Believers” and that the “the Apes are the people of the Sabbath, the Jews; and the Swine are the infidels of the communion of Jesus, the Christians”? Little wonder the imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque uses such monikers—even as he gushes about the Saudi-sponsored Vienna-based initiative for “dialogue.”

Maybe they wish to talk about the 28-year-old Saudi woman, Maryan, who, after converting to Christianity, had to flee the nation, and is reportedly currently hiding in Sweden, even as authorities try to extradite her back to Saudi Arabia to face the crime of apostasy, which calls for the death penalty?  Earlier Maryam had said that, though she “was raised to hate Judaism and Christianity she has come to love those religions since finding peace in Christianity.”

Do they wish to talk about how 35 Christian Ethiopians were arrested and abused for almost a year, simply for holding a private house prayer?  Upon release, one of the Christians observed that “The Saudi officials do not tolerate any religions other than Islam. They consider non-Muslims unbelievers. They are full of hatred towards non-Muslims.”

Or do they wish to talk about how just last December 2012, Saudi “religious police” stormed a house in the province of al-Jouf, detaining more than 41 guests for, in the words of the police statement, “plotting to celebrate Christmas”?

Of course, the Vienna-based King Abdullah International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue does not wish to talk about any of these instances of state-enforced religious intolerance. Instead, the purpose of the center’s existence is to deflect criticism from Saudi Arabia and other Muslim countries, and direct it onto the West. This was amply demonstrated during the center’s inaugural symposium, when Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu,  the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, urged Western governments to enact laws countering “Islamophobia,” because it “leads to hate crimes and as such, it generates fear, feelings of stigmatization, marginalization, alienation and rejection.”

In other words, Saudi-sponsored “interfaith dialogue” is about one-way tolerance, that is, pressuring the West to show “tolerance” to Muslims by not criticizing them for persecuting others, which would be portrayed as “Islamophobia.”

It still remains to determine which is more surreal, more unbelievable: that Saudi Arabia, which tops the charts of state-enforced religious intolerance, is sponsoring “religious dialogue,” or that the West, including leaders of those religions whose adherents are daily persecuted by Saudi and Muslim intolerance, are going along with the gag—and all of them with a straight face. 




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  • lavallette

    Islam decrees that anyone who is not a Muslim and submits to Allah, is an affront to Allah Himself and thus he is doomed to life as an outlaw or a Dhimmi and for anyone refusing to submit to this status, his life is forfeit to any believer who wishes to please Allah and gain admission to Paradise and have access to the houris for eternity. So rather than an act of murder of your fellow man its is actually perceived as an Act of Faith that will gain you a lot of merit in the eyes of Allah. The trouble is that any Muslim who ceases to believe this is defying the unchangeable will of Allah, and therefore he becomes an apostate who may himself be killed for his act of defiance of Allah.

    Islam is a world domination political movement disguised as a religion. It has been in the business of spreading its dominion by force of arms and Jihad all over the world since coming into being in the 7th century and is still attempting to do so to this day.

  • dogwithoutslippers

    Aaahhh, and those Liberal fools who cling to their belief of the ‘golden rule’ and that their muslim friends would never wish them ill. And if anything is said counter to their belief they brand the teller as an intolerant racist for them saying that islam is a violent ideology – not a religion.

  • Denise

    I can’t even imagine why any Jewish or Christian person, would even, for one moment, consider attending an interfaith worship service. The laws of kashrut forbid such a thing. Keeping kosher isn’t only about what a person eats. It is also about what you wear, how you cut your hair, who you marry, in a nut shell, it is about keeping separate; the Holy from the profane. It is about how and who you worship.
    Anyone who cannot see that Islam is satanic, is in a very deep spiritual darkness. “You cannot partake of the table of demons and of the table of G-d.” Yeshua, aka Jesus asked these questions: “what fellowship has the darkness with the light?” or “can two walk together unless they are agreed?” Personally, I take that to mean….Do not show deference to a foreign god, aka Allah. Share the gospel of salvation with any who will listen, but do not join them in their apostasy.

  • Denise

    Just by attending one of these hellish events; Allah, aka Satan, is given a measure of spiritual credibility. I’m sure that someone in attendance, will at some point, quote from the unholy koran, and I wonder, at its conclusion, how many non Muslims will, without much thought, will say “Amen?”
    Our G-d, is not Islam’s god, nor to we have a shared eternity. Share the gospel with as many Muslims as possible, but do not share in their worship.

  • SamT

    Awesome article! Shame on Austria, the UN, and every other non-Moslem who is going along with this Saudi farce of “dialogue.” Here they are, institutionalizing religious intolerance at home, at in Europe and America, they talk about “dialogue”? What a joke? Save you money king Abdul…