Home inContext Saudi Arabia’s Religious Intolerance

Saudi Arabia’s Religious Intolerance

Howard Gumnitzky

Abdul Azeez Valiyaveetil, a Muslim man promoting “positive dialogue” between Hindus and Christians in India, credits Saudi Arabia’s king as his inspiration.  The state-run Saudi Gazette  quotes Valiyaveetil, who attended a Saudi “diversity” conference in Madrid last year, as saying, “We have a lot to learn from the guidance of King Abdullah.”
This bit of propaganda cannot erase the fact that Saudi Arabia has no tolerance for non-Muslims. Minorities face severe discrimination in employment and education, and they are forbidden from openly practicing their faith.  In an extreme example, during the 1990 Gulf War, U.S. troops (there to protect the Kingdom) were barred from holding formal Christmas services at their bases. 
Jews are particularly shunned in the Saudi kingdom. School textbooks continue to vilify Judaism.   Even insignificant references to Jews are rebuked. Last year, the Saudis became alarmed over a trend in which youngsters wore Kabbalah bracelets.