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Why Is Christian Persecution in Saudi Arabia Ignored?

Posted by addisethiopia / አዲስ ኢትዮጵያ on April 11, 2012

By John Meinhold

As I write, many Christians are observing Good Friday. Easter is the holiest season of the Christian faith. With CNN broadcasting the latest insignificant news about Kim Kardashian in the background, I happened to recently stumble on an obscure government document on the Internet from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF). It turns out what I read in the USCIRF 2012 Annual Reportwas one of the most important documents I have read in many years.

USCIRF is tasked with reporting to the president, Secretary of State and Congress on international human rights abuses of religious freedom. Their recommendations are either acted upon or the country is given a waiver.

Why was I doing research on the Internet?

The Grand Mufti Sheik Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah of Saudi Arabia had recently been reported to say it is “necessary to destroy all the churches in the (Arabian Peninsula) region.” Pretty shocking news since the Arabian Peninsula encompasses Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Yemen. Furthermore, the grand mufti is the highest religious authority in Saudi Arabia and has world influence on Muslims. Yet, an Internet news search showed only the Washington Times and Houston Chronicle posted an editorial condemning his barbaric words. More disappointing is that only Reuters had a news story about archbishops from Russia, Austria and Germany decrying what the Saudi grand mufti said.

The Catholic Bishops Conference in Austria said the grand mufti’s fatwa was “incomprehensible” and demanded an official explanation from Riyadh. They said his words endangered Christians around the world, not just in Arab states.

According to the USCIRF report “systematic, ongoing and egregious violations of religious freedom continue in Saudi Arabia.” The report says, “More than 10 years since the September 11, 2001, attacks on the United States, the Saudi government has failed to implement a number of promised reforms related to promoting freedom of thought, conscience, and or belief. The Saudi government … prohibits churches, synagogues, temples, and other non-Muslim places of worship, uses in its schools and posts online state textbooks that continue to espouse intolerance and incite violence, and periodically interferes with private religious practice.”

Furthermore, the report says, “The government continues to prohibit foreign religious leaders from seeking and obtaining visas to enter Saudi Arabia.”

Catholic and Orthodox Christians are especially impacted by this since they need clergy in order to receive the holy sacraments. It is estimated there are about 800,000 Christians in Saudi Arabia. Most are Catholic Filipinos on work visas.

The USCIRF report also says, “On December 15, 2011, approximately 35 Ethiopian Christians were detained for holding a private prayer gathering … Some have alleged physical abuse during interrogations.”

On March 26 a protest led by International Christian Concern took place in front of the Saudi Arabia Embassy in Washington D.C. demanding that King Abdullah release the unjustly jailed Ethiopians. Even with the protest being almost on the doorstep of The Washington Post, I could find not one news story about this on the Internet. Only Tadias, an online magazine for Ethiopian-Americans had coverage about the protest.

The USCIRF report says, “Many observers contend that even now, the United States does not want to jeopardize important bilateral security and economic ties by pushing for political and human rights reforms, despite opportunities emerging as a result of demonstrations calling for increased reforms and greater rights throughout the Arab world in 2011.”

Many asked the question after the 9/11 attacks, “Why do they hate us”?

Recall that 15 of the 19 September 11 terrorists were from Saudi Arabia, as well as Osama bin Laden originally being from there. After reading the USCIRF report, it seems possible they were taught to hate us.

If our nation wants to be the leader to spread freedom around the world we cannot have double standards. Saudi Arabia has been granted human rights religious abuse waivers by our government since 2005. The Ethiopian Christians presently incarcerated by the Saudi government for simply having a prayer gathering is an international abomination. The media may not find reporting about poor third world Christian black workers in Saudi Arabia being jailed unfairly as glamorous celebrity news, but it is news that should be in the headlines. Our leaders should be demanding on the floor of Congress that they be released and condemning the Saudi grand mufti for calling for churches to be destroyed in the Gulf region.

The United Nations should be enforcing its charter and doctrines to protect religious freedom in Saudi Arabia.

The world is at serious security risk without sweeping human rights and religious freedom reforms in Saudi Arabia. Martin Luther King Jr. famously said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Editor’s note:  The writer adds he is an Orthodox Christian and a U.S. Air Force veteran

SLEEPING WITH THE DEVIL: How Washington Sold Our Soul for Saudi Crude

In Jeremiah 51, the prophet received a revelation from the LORD that ancient Babylon was going to fall. Look at what he said.

“And Babylon? …I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD,” (verses 37,39).

“And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men: and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts,” (verse 57).

Islam has worked furiously for centuries to control the territory of ancient Babylon. Ancient Babylon was not Muslim. It was Luciferic. Nevertheless, they are kindred spirits. From Iran, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Islam is right now attempting to take complete control of Iraq, North Africa, Turkey, Palestine, and in very fact, ALL OF EUROPE.

According to Robert Baer, the centre of the global economy is a “kingdom built on thievery, one that nurtures terrorism, destroys any possibility of a middle class based on property rights, and promotes slavery and prostitution”. This kingdom also sits on one quarter of the world’s oil reserves, thus ensuring that it receives the full support and protection of the US government. Sleeping With the Devil details the hypocritical and corrupt relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia and the potentially calamitous economic consequences of maintaining this Faustian bargain.

As Baer makes clear, the US has been aware of problems within the bitterly divided Al Sa’ud family for years, but has ignored the facts in order to keep lucrative business deals afloat. (The amount of money the royal family spends to influence powerful American politicians and lobbyists is staggering.) Particularly damning are his details regarding Saudi Arabia’s support of militant Islamic groups, including al Qaeda. The ruling family funnels millions of dollars to such groups in order to dissuade them from overthrowing the monarchy–a protection scheme that is shaky at best, given the hatred most citizens feel for the ruling family. To prevent economic disaster that could come from either a local uprising or an interruption in the flow of oil due to terrorism, Baer raises the possibility of the US seizing the Saudi oil fields and forcing a regime change on its own terms: “An invasion and a revolution might be the only things that can save the industrial West from a prolonged, wrenching depression”, he warns.

Baer spent 21 years with the CIA, much of it in the Middle East, so he is an informed guide to this complex subject. His alarming book deserves to be read for raising many important and troubling questions


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