Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Saudi Arabia's Religious Hatred

The disease that is the US State department can be recognized by one foremost symptom: Its inability to criticize its major business partners (countries like Saudi and China) in an unqualified manner. In this op-ed at IsraelNationalNews, Jeff Jacoby shows the hypocrisy of Colin Powell at its premium.
"Freedom of religion does not exist," the department states in its report on Saudi Arabia. "It is not recognized or protected under the country's laws, and basic religious freedoms are denied to all but those who adhere to the state-sanctioned version of Sunni Islam. Citizens are denied the freedom to choose or change their religion, and non-citizens practice their beliefs under severe restrictions. Islam is the official religion and all citizens must be Muslims."

The report notes that "conversion by a Muslim to another religion is... a crime punishable by death if the accused does not recant..... The government prohibits non-Muslim religious activities. Non-Muslim worshippers" - millions of foreign-born Christians and Hindus work in Saudi Arabia - "risk arrest, imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and sometimes torture for engaging in religious activity that attracts official attention."

That is clear enough as far as it goes, but Ambassador John Hanford, whose office compiled the report, took pains to reassure the Saudis that it would go no further. Asked at a press briefing whether the listing of Saudi Arabia should be seen as a "pressure tactic," Hanford replied:

"Oh, no, no. Uh-uh. No. These designations are ones that we make with a certain degree of sorrow because these are valued relationships, particularly in a case such as Saudi Arabia. But the US Congress has laid out for us a standard that we feel we must follow."

Secretary of State Colin Powell likewise did his best to allay any Saudi worries. "This is not to punish them, or in any way to show displeasure," he assured Al Arabiya, the Arab satellite channel. "One should not see this as anything but two friends talking to one another about a problem of mutual concern."
This is truly sickening. Two friends. Mutual concern. MUTUAL?! IT IS NOT A CONCERN TO OIL LEECHES!
And let me remind you that is is not oil that makes Powel and his minions treat the Arabs with velvet gloves. It is jobs. Jobs with companies that make money from the Arab. Companies like Bechtel, Halliburton, Aramco. With jobs that Powell and many others at State will one day covet.

Think "revolving door".


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