S audi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's charm offensive in New York is said to have hit Oprah Winfrey, which is the only feasible thing I've ever heard of him. He also had some religious leaders in his condo in NYC to emphasize the importance of religious tolerance.
MbS may be sincere, but here is an area where he has to put his money where he is.
Saudi Arabia is not religiously tolerant. It is religiously intolerant in a way that contradicts Islam and gives religion a bad name. Muslim majority countries like Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt have many churches and Christmas parties.
Saudi Arabia has none?
Saudi Arabia has none.
One can not even blame the Wahhabi or Unitarian tribesmen Islam is favored by Riyadh for this problem, although its traditional texts are not innocent.
Neighboring Wahhabi Qatar has a clause in its constitution guaranteeing religious freedom.
Saudi Arabia is not.
Qatar has licensed churches for its Filipino immigrant workers.
Saudi Arabia does not have. 19659002] I once hiked through the back streets of Dubai and found a small Hindu temple. There are hundreds of thousands of Hindus in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. They would rather find a unicorn in Saudi Arabia than a Hindu temple. But note that India has a huge Muslim minority and mosques all over the Hindu majority.
MB hypocrisy is nothing new in Saudi politics. Under the last king Riad founded an international center for inter-religious and intercultural dialogue in Vienna, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz. That's great and after all, the center has done a good job.
But if MbS wants to be taken seriously because of religious tolerance, he has to bring the principle home from Vienna. He has already reduced the power of the bigoted religious police controlling public behavior on the Saudi roads. Sometimes they were more interested in enforcing gender segregation than in allowing firefighters to get to the scene of a fire, endanger women, or even be held responsible for their deaths. The old Saudi religious police would not like religious tolerance.
Not only members of other religions, but also other Muslims, including Shiites (15% of the Saudi population), non-Wahhabi Sunnis, and Sufis have often felt persecution. Some observers think that Saudi Arabia is only 40% Wahhabi, but it is this sect that sets the state's policy.
MbS would be better not to open his mouth on the subject until Christmas can be celebrated in a church in Riyadh. As it is in churches throughout the Muslim world. And mosques throughout the Christian world are reminded of Muslim oaths.
Ironically, the Qur'an, the scripture worshiped by Muslims, has poignant passages about the birth of Jesus more than the New Testament records. But the people of Jesus can not publicly celebrate this birth in Muslim MbS.
Top Photo | Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will meet with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis at the Pentagon in Washington on March 22, 2018. (AP / Cliff Owen)
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