Thursday, August 7, 2008

Saudi Hatred of Christians and Jews is Only Part of the Story

John at True Discernment linked to a couple of related stories.

The earlier story, from the Jordan Times, talked about a planned interfaith dialogue between various parties, including Christians and Jews.

The later story, from, indicated that things haven't really changed in Saudi Arabia. 15 Christians were recently deported from Saudi Arabia for holding priviate Christian worship services. 20 Bibles and assorted materials were found during an April raid on a house in Riyadh. One of the 16 people arrested immediately left the country, while the other 15 were deported, ironically, just a few weeks after the planned interfaith conference was held in Madrid, Spain.

For those who know about such things, the news that Saudi Arabia doesn't allow Christianity to be practiced in the country isn't news; it's weather.

But before we all go off and condemn the way that the Saudis treat Christians and Jews, we may want to look at the way the Saudis treat some of their fellow Muslims.

Yes, Muslims.

Later on in the Jordan Times article:

Saudi Arabia, home to Islam’s holiest sites, sees itself as the leader of Sunni Islam. It promotes a hardline school of Islam called Wahhabism which has traditionally seen some other Muslims and non-Muslims as “infidels”....

Although the official religious establishment is on board for the king’s interfaith effort, many Wahhabi clerics remain opposed even to talking to Shiite Muslims.

A group of independent clerics issued a statement last week saying Shiites, including Lebanese group Hizbollah, were posturing against Israel to hide an anti-Sunni agenda.

Some Shiites said that, despite the presence of Iran’s Rafsanjani, few of their number were invited to the Mecca meeting. None came from Europe or North America and one from Saudi Arabia’s own Shiite minority, which complains that it is given second class status.

And Saudi Arabia's views on Shiites may be causing problems elsewhere:

Ali Adib, an MP with the Islamic Mission (Dawa) Party in Iraq, expressed his hope that Saudi Arabia would review and change its diplomatic stance toward Iraq. PM Nuri al-Maliki is not presently welcome in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, apparently because he is suspected of being a partisan Shiite who has it in for Sunnis.

The only thing holding the Islamic world together in the Middle East is Israel. If Israel were to sink into the ocean, the fireworks would really begin.

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