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Home Archived Newsletters Newsletter - December 03, 2008

Newsletter - December 03, 2008

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Saudi News

Commentary by Dr. Ali Alyami

Ironies, Contradictions and Stagnant Societies

Director’s Comment: The Arab family-ruled and owned Gulf fiefdoms (fiefdom: territory or a sphere of activity, that is controlled or dominated by a particular person or group) led by Saudi Arabia, are among the richest in the world. This is due to large deposits of oil under the most inhospitable Arabian terrains. Despite this labor free bounty, the Gulf States remain among the least politically, socially, economically and educationally developed in the world. Most of their workforce, from street sweepers to bankers, engineers, doctors, nurses, planners and pilots are imported from other countries, some of which are very poor. This not due to a lack of intelligent, educated Gulf citizens who are willing and able to develop their countries to meet the challenges of the 21st century. The ruling families of these “dependent” countries (that cannot defend themselves against their enemies internally or externally) feel that their continued control over their repressed people and their natural resources depends upon keeping their people divided, segregated and above all, dependent on the ruling families for education, food, water, health care, electricity, transportation and protection.

One of the most ruinous obstacles to the development of the Gulf countries is the marginalization of women. Women suffer from layers of administrative rules and exclusionary polices at home and in public regardless of their status, kinship, education or wealth. They have no protection from their male-dominated societies and institutions. Their providence, movements, activities and even worshiping is controlled by their fathers, brothers, husbands and government’s segregationist policies, as well as radical religious courts that are based on arbitrary interpretations of Shariah Islamic law, which discriminate against women, minorities and non-Muslims. Many Muslim men and women attribute religious extremism and its byproduct, terrorism, to the exclusion of women from the workforce and decision-making, especially on matters that deal with the education of children. Read Original Article

Yoga Chanting Threatens Muslims?

Director’s Comment: The highest religious Council in Malaysia recently issued a fatwa, edict, saying “the Indian physical exercise contains elements of Hinduism that could corrupt Muslims.” How could a soothing physical and chanting expression corrupt anyone, even if it has spiritual implication? Why are Muslims so easily corruptible? Why are Muslims deemed unable to decide for themselves, as individuals, instead of receiving orders and inspiration from men who use religion to dominate, incite, spread deadly ideology and export ideologues to kill and destroy in the name of Islam, which Muslims claim to be a religion of peace, justice, equality and tolerance? Read Original Article

Not Enough to Condemn

Director’s Comment: The Organization of Islamic Conference’s (OIC) condemnation of the vicious attack on Mumbai, India, by Muslim extremists is meaningless. From all indications, the murderous attackers are trained in countries represented in the OIC and communities that receive financial support from some of the Organization’s members. The OIC represents the overwhelming majority of Muslims and has the power to eradicate the root causes of religious extremism and its byproduct, terrorism, as well as religious totalitarianism. The OIC can start by closing all schools and mosques that advocate religious intolerance, the oppression of women and religious minorities, and the incitement of Muslims to harm non-Muslims and Muslim minorities. The OIC can include non-sectarian classes in their school curriculums to teach about human rights, the sanctity of life, rule of law, democracy and its empowering values, and respect for all people regardless of race, religion, gender, lifestyle and ethnicities.

They can help their captive and voiceless people to understand that all means do not justify all ends regardless of the outcome. Most importantly, the old heads of the OIC can make room for a new generation, through free elections, of educated men and women who understand the art of compromising, globalization and individual (instead of Ummah) liberties, as well as coexistence at home and abroad. As representatives of most Muslims, the OIC (headquartered in Saudi Arabia) must be held accountable for the teachings of its institutions regarding intolerance, the killing of innocent people and the destruction of their properties, including their own. The international community, especially the West, will benefit immensely from supporting democratic reformers in the Arab and Muslim states.

President-elect, Mr. Barack Obama, should make it clear to Arab and Muslim regimes, in his Inaugural Address on January 20, 2009, that the present status quo poses a real threat to world peace, economic stability and democratic values. Had the attackers on Mumbai held chemical devices, they could have brought the government of the largest democratic country to its knees and plunge the world into economic and political turmoil.

If this deadly event does not wake up the international community, then what would, nuclear explosions in major cities? Read Original Article

Prince Naif’s Call for Shunning Religious Extremism is a Good Start

Director’s Comment: Prince Naif, the Saudi Minister of Interior, is quoted as saying, “The success of a person in this world and the hereafter depends on the uprightness of his thought and faith. A person whose faith is shaken may fall victim to deviant ideologies, leading him to total loss and destruction.” We wholeheartedly agree with Prince Naif that deviant ideologies, especially religious brainwashing, are destructive and lead people to kill and destroy. Our question to the powerful and most feared prince in Saudi Arabia, Naif, is who is responsible for indoctrinating the impressionable and futureless young Saudis to become intolerant and hateful of non-Muslims and of Muslims who do not adhere to the Saudi self-serving interpretation of Muslim holy text books?

Prince Naif is in charge of the clerics who teach young Saudis the deviant ideas he is complaining about, “I have told King Saud and Imam Muhammad bin Saud universities some Saudis were drawn into terrorism and how we can solve this problem.” How? Close the university or replace its radical teachers with well-rounded instructors who studied religious and worldly subjects and are willing and able to promote understanding among people regardless of beliefs. Establish Christian, Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist, and Shia education departments like the Islamic Centers in non-Muslim universities worldwide. By doing this, young Saudis will appreciate other peoples and their faiths; consequently, they will resist converting from decent citizens to bloody suicide bombers. The ball is in Prince Naif’s court. He is in a position to help eradicate the root causes of religious extremism and its byproduct, terrorism. The name of his country and people has become synonymous with religious extremism, terrorism and suicide bombing. If this trend continues, Saudi Arabia may become the target of violent global retributions. Read Original Article

Support Democratic Reformers

Director’s Comment: President-elect, Barack Obama, understands, first hand, that free people are free to determine their destiny without fear of governments, big businesses or religious extremist’s retributions. He ran against about twenty educated, patriotic and capable men and women and won the presidency of the most powerful nation on earth. Even though he did not “look like the other candidates” and no non-white man has come close to wining the highest office in America, Mr. Obama won because the American people decided freely that he is the right person to represent their interests at a time when their economy and security are at their lowest point in decades. He recognizes that freedom and liberty are the pillars upon which America stands strong and tall, “And to all those who have wondered if America’s beacon still burns as bright: Tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.”*

America’s security and prosperity depend on the innovation, creativity and hard work of its diverse citizens at home, and on its moral, scientific, economic and military strength abroad. Globalization and economic interdependence necessitate closer relationships among nations, especially those who share economic interests and/or democratic values. The U.S. shares economic interests with Saudi Arabia, a country governed by a repressive system that considers the individual to be a possession of the ruling family. The citizens Saudi Arabia are identified as Saudis, which translates to the property of the House of Saud. The terrorists who attacked the U.S. on September 11, 2001 were mostly Saudi nationals who were born, raised, and schooled to hate America and its empowering democratic values. Very little has changed since 9/11 and it is possible that America will get attacked by religious extremists again.

One way to eradicate the root causes of religious extremism and its byproduct, terrorism, is for Mr. Obama to heed Mr. Natan Sharansky’s valuable suggestion, as highlighted in the attached article. America’s security cannot be maintained by the barrel of the gun anymore. Only via the spread of America’s democratic values can America be saved, respected and maintain its global influence, without which the international community could collapse. Read Original Article

Introducing Islam to non-Islamic Countries

Director’s Comment: It is reported that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia will preside over yet another meeting to instruct Muslim scholars as to how to present Islam to non-Muslims. “Dr. Ahamd Bin Nafi Al-Murai, head of the Conference Academic Committee, said that participants in the conference would tackle misconceptions about Islam and depict the true image of the Islamic principles of tolerance and moderation, and also explain the relationship of the Islamic religion with other religions, SPA said on Tuesday.” King Abdullah may have good intentions, but he must be surrounded by the most incompetent and fearful advisors who are afraid of explaining to the King that non-Muslims judge Islam by what they see and experience when they deal with, live in, and work for Saudi Arabia specifically, or other Muslim countries in general.

According to Human Rights groups and U.S. Department of State reports, as well as the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom and uncontestable realities on the ground, Saudi Arabia suffers from more religious oppression than any country on this planet. Saudi Arabia is the only country where religious rituals are compulsory, which means Muslims are physically forced to stop eating, close their businesses and pray five times a day. Non-Muslims are forbidden to worship publicly and if caught doing so privately, they could be humiliated and face deportation. Non-Muslims cannot carry their religious books, pork, or wear their religious symbols, like the cross or the Star of David, even in the Saudi airlines. Religious minorities and Muslims who do not adhere to the state’s austere enforced religion cannot practice their religious rituals openly. Women have to cover themselves from head to toe, cannot drive, cannot buy or own property, and cannot travel without male accompaniment or written permission.

Religious extremists (terrorists, deviants, and suicide bombers) read Quranic verses, draw daggers to chop innocent people’s heads, and scream “Allah o Akbar,” God is great. Muslims who criticize Islam or decide to embrace other religions or no religion are dubbed apostates and are punished by death. Non-Muslim citizens of Arab and Muslim countries are constantly attacked and have no rights under the Shariah law, which is the basis for Arab and Muslim courts. Men can marry four wives at a time and divorce them in absentia by saying three words. Given all these facts, what does king Abdullah expect non-Muslims to understand or appreciate about Islam, especially when Arab and Muslim countries are among the least developed, productive and contributive to the well-being of their societies and the international community? Read Original Article

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The Center for Democracy & Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (CDHR) is a non-profit 501(c) (3) organization based in Washington, DC. CDHR provides new and accurate information for the benefit of the public, the business community and policy makers about the current situation in Saudi Arabia. CDHR’s goal is to help bring about a peaceful democratic transition from a single-family autocratic rule to a participatory political system where the rights of all Saudi citizens are protected under the rule of civil laws.

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