Religious Liberty In Saudi Arabia – There Is None

Tolerating Saudi Bigotry (
A few months ago the State Department released its list of countries that lack freedom of religion and Saudi Arabia was omitted even though they are among the worst on the planet in this area.

At the time I was livid about the ommission and I still am. However, it’s nice to see some vindication in the form of this working group’s report on religious freedom. They told the truth.

The State Department knows how intolerant the Saudis are when it comes to other religions, even other branches of Islam, yet they refused to place Saudi Arabia on the list. Perhaps now they will re-think their position and do the right thing. I won’t hold my breath waiting, though.

WHEN THE STATE DEPARTMENT issued its list of countries “of particular concern for religious freedom” in March, the absence of Saudi Arabia from the rogues’ gallery of persecutors stood out. America’s favorite brutal, theocratic monarchy had escaped designation in the past as well, so it was not a surprise. Nor was the desert kingdom the only notable absence: Another ally, Uzbekistan, which systematically oppresses Muslims who don’t toe the government’s official line, also got left off the list. But Saudi Arabia’s escape was particularly striking, given that the discussion of Saudi religious liberty in the State Department’s human rights report begins with “freedom of religion does not exist.”

Last week, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom — an independent bipartisan federal agency — released its report on the state of religion in the kingdom. The report is a welcome rebuke to the department and rightly calls on the administration to add Saudi Arabia to its list. “How could a country where religious freedom does not exist fail to qualify for . . . designation?” the commission asks.

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