Saudi Hypocrisy or Saudi Tolerance?

What’s the proper response to the Saudi King’s speech about religious pluralism at the UN? President Bush and Secretary of … Continued

What’s the proper response to the Saudi King’s speech about religious pluralism at the UN?

President Bush and Secretary of State Rice greeted his words with cautious optimism, as did President Shimon Peres of Israel who said, “I wish that your voice will become the prevailing voice of our region, of all people.”

Other responses ranged from cynical to critical. One Saudi Shia in exile said it was like South Africa decrying racism during the apartheid era.

Imam Moustafa al-Qazwini, an important Shia American leader, wrote in an Open Letter to the UN gathering: “Since the inception of the kingdom, it has institutionalized a systematic and deliberate process to discredit and marginalize its own citizens who follow the Shia belief. From the educational institutes, to the state funded media outlets, and employment the Saudi government has continued its religious prosecution, distortion, and denigration of the Shias.”

I am a Shia Muslim, and have heard my fair share of personal stories of Shias being persecuted in Saudi Arabia. Moreover, the Saudi government has supported a culture of ill will towards Jews and Christians, really towards anyone who is not a Salafi Muslim. None of these things make the Saudi King the most likely messenger of interfaith cooperation.

But I am choosing to approach this at a slight angle. Sometimes the external articulation of a message sets of a string of internal changes.

Consider America during World War II, fighting across Europe to free the Jews while its own swimming pools and water fountains were segregated. Americans were too smart to stomach their government’s hypocrisy for long. The American external message of freedom during World War II played a crucial role in catalyzing our internal Civil Rights Movement.

Maybe King Abdullah, by articulating the central Muslim value of religious pluralism on the world stage, will find the citizens of his Kingdom demanding that he implement it at home.

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  • FRIENDENEMY

    I hope the Saudi leaders can not only ‘talk the talk’ but ‘walk the walk’.The US propaganda during World War 2 billed it as a war of fascism against democracy and not “fighting across Europe to free the Jews”. The book, While Six Million Died: A Chronicle of American Apathy, is about how we did very little until late in the war, about the mass killings.My own opinion is that wars are fought over human and natural resources, and the Nazi’s were late in making the land grab that the Western Europe had done a century before.

  • CCNL

    When Eboo and the King admit that Mohammed was a warmongering, hallucinating, womanizing, illiterate no-good, the world will then listen. Until then the discussion of Muslim plurism will remain mute to non-Muslims.

  • isaacc7

    But the state governments were filled with racists and bigots and through their governmental power enforced segregationist policies. The federal government had to step in and make the unbelievable point that blacks were people too… So yes, there was a culture of racism, but don’t pretend that government power wasn’t used for racist ends.BTW, I am in agreement that WWII was not fought to “free the Jews,” that became an issue at the end, but it wasn’t even on the radar at the start of the war.

  • Farnaz2

    Consider America during World War II, fighting across Europe to free the Jews….This is an absolute disgrace. There is no reason why any literate person would be so misinformed. For one with your education,it is inconceivable. Either you have falsified your credentials or you are mentally ill. Students in American middle schools know better than this.Not only was the US completely indifferent to the plight of Jews in Europe, Africa, the MIddle East, during the Shoah, but it actually falsified information, kept information from the American public, with considerable assistance from the New York Times. Hundreds of books, thousands of articles have been written on this.Frankly, this post demands the investigation of your stated credentials. They simply cannot be valid.

  • 123rooz

    It should be stated that none of the countries in the region practice any real religious tolerance; I mean look at Israel. I’m an Iranian American, and though Iran’s religious tolerance is certainly better than Saudi Arabia’s, their leaders aren’t exactly Martin Luther King. :)Also, I second the poster that said the world will not know progress until all people accept that there is no “cosmic muffin.”

  • bharath_vasi

    Before you speak about Saudi tolerance, you should look at your people in Gujarat, India where thousands of Muslims were killed in systematic pogrom in 2002.

  • Farnaz2

    Actually, Israel is the only country in the region where Muslim have rights, can vote in legitimate elections, and are legitimately represented in the Parliament.I am an Iranian American. An Iranian Jew. On this I could write volumes. For now, my primary concern is with the discrepancy between Mr. Patel’s obvious ignorance of American history and professed credentials, easy enough to investigate, I would imagine.

  • ShibliZaman

    ABHAB, this comment made no sense:”Does the Muslim theology that divides the world into the ‘House of War’ meaning non-Muslims and the ‘House of Peace’ meaning Muslims is your idea of pluralism?”If you’re asking if Muslim theology divides the world into ‘House of War’ and ‘House of Peace’ to separate the Muslim and non-Muslim world, then then answer is a bold-faced NO.Muslim theology is simple: There is only One God who has no intermediary. There is no Priest, Pope, Bishop, Cleric, Monk, etc between you and God. You have a one on one relationship with him. He has no lineage nor does he bear offspring. He shares Divinity with none. He does not incarnate himself as humans, elephants, blue people, etc.That is Islamic theology in a nutshell. Some scholars of JURISPRUDENCE in the 12th Century AD may have hypothesized some “House of War” or “House of Peace” distinction in the midst of the European Crusades. Can you not also find Jewish and Christian scholars proposing some pretty absurd ideas in the Middle Ages? You can, so don’t waste our time.So, in short, this “House of War” and “House of Peace” distinction is pure Evangelical missionary propaganda adopted by hardcore Right Wing Republican xenophobes in the NOW DEAD (Hallelujah) Bush era.They will vanish rather quickly in the coming 4 years. Mark my words.

  • ShibliZaman

    FARNAZ2 said:”Actually, Israel is the only country in the region where Muslim have rights, can vote in legitimate elections, and are legitimately represented in the Parliament.”Is this meant as a serious statement or was it said in jest because it is complete blarney. The Palestinians of Gaza have NEVER been allowed to vote in Israel. Only recently were they allowed to vote in PA elections.Finally, Turkey is 100x more democratic than Israel because EVERYONE in Turkey has the right to vote and Turkey is a NATO ally. Turkey is also a very lucid example of an increasingly successful synthesis between Islam and modernity.The fact of the matter is that you are an Iranian Jew because your people had status and respect in Islamic history. The Golden Age of Jewry was in Muslim Spain. When Ferdinand and Isabella were BURNING YOUR PEOPLE AT THE STAKE who took them in? Sultan Beyazit of the Ottoman Empire. He stated, “What a fool Ferdinand is for impoverishing his nation and enriching mine.”So please spare us your 20th Century (now going on 21st Century sadly) Zionist propaganda. You wouldn’t even exist if Islam wasn’t pluralistic in nature. Christian Europe would have Barbecued and eaten you on a skewer. Read up on what the Crusaders did to Muslims, Christians and Jews alike at Ma`arrat al-Nu`man. Bon appetit!

  • Farnaz2

    ShibliZaman I am an Iranian Jew who as a young child watched Ismael, a family friend being taken into custody by the “Iranian National Guard,” who murdered him in front of my eyes.Israel does not oppress Israeli Arabs who choose to veil. Israeli Arabs vote, have representation in Parliament. When it seemed that success of the Clinton plan was imminent, not a single Israeli Arab left Israel for what would long have been Palestine by now, had not Palestinian Racists whose ignorance is only surpassed by your racist and moronic self prevented it.My family goes back to at least the year 1100 in Iran. We fled that country in the middle of the night and our survival that night was questionable. The approximate number of Jews driven out of the middle east, many of whom were there before there was such a thing as Islam numbers three million.Islamofacists like yourself rely on American oil greed, your own corruption, etc., to keep things as they are. However, we are joining together. We want restoration of our homes, property, justice for all the Ismaels that the Islamofacists have murdered.Islamofacist, your days are numbered.

  • Farnaz2

    ShibliZaman Btw., Turkey is not in the Middle East. Your knowledge of geography matches Patel’s knowledge of history.Spare us the Islamofacist ignorance and propaganda.

  • thebobbob

    Simple answer. Hypocrisy!

  • bizecology

    If anyone believes in Arab tolerance, I suggest you get the book “Understanding Arabs” which is used as a standard text in the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Pay particular attention to the factors which define Arab culture.

  • mzafrullah

    I think we should welcome King Abdullah’s initiative on pluralism, and hope that His Majesty will put his money where his mouth is and preach religious tolerance also to the militant mullahs of Muslim countries. While attacks similar to 9/11 have taken place, albeit at a smaller scale, in Spain, Britain and in other countries they are rare as compared to what some Muslims do to each other. Sunnis attacking the Shiites and vice versa are quite well-documented, yet there are many more instances of faith related hate-killings in Muslim countries. The usual story behind faith related killings in Muslim countries is that a mullah declares, in a Friday sermon, followers of a certain sect non-Muslim and exhorts his audience to kill them and promises paradise in return. In response some seekers of paradise go and make life a living hell for some hapless families by killing their bread winners. (I know of some stories of murder and mistreatment of members of the Ahmadiyya Community in Islam, from Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Pakistan.)I must hasten to point out that Muslims are not the only champions in the field of hate and intolerance. Mr. Bush was able to launch the Iraq war because he had support from various religious organizations. What makes this episode of history interesting is that Iraq is decimated and the US is on the brink of economic meltdown. Finally the billion dollar question, “What should we do?” Educate. Educate the population of the world and not just about religion. A major chunk of the world population is poor because they do not have enough education to earn adequate living, and poverty breeds all sorts of ills and hatred of the unfamiliar is one of them. I suggest that King Abdullah should set up a fund to help impoverished countries improve their education systems. On the religious front I suggested interfaith conferences some time ago in

  • ReignForrest

    Eboo makes a good point: Hypocrisy or not, there’s no reason not to hope that an articulation of religious diversity and tolerance just may nudge the country toward a more just society. I’m not a Saudi Arabia watcher to know how powerful the King is. This may indeed be his way of urging his country toward progress.Time will tell. If it turns out to be empty rhetoric, Saudi Arabia will remain the vilain most non-Muslims (and many Muslims, too) think it is. If the King really means it, and the country enters the modern world slowly but surely, then his words will have had some effect.

  • abhab

    Shiblizaman pontificates to me thus:The term House of Peace appears in the Koran in 6.127 as a name of ParadiseHow about those other Quran verses that describe the non-Muslims as pigs, dogs, donkeys and stupider than cattle? Does that smell like tolerance or plurality in your understanding?

  • abhab

    Eboo says:

  • birs1987

    Eboo Patel you should become a Salafi MuslimTo become a Salafi Muslim is probably not that difficult for a Shia Muslim.That would solve most of the international disputes. We’ll have a peaceful Pakistan, we’ll witness the end of the Islamic terrorism, and the intellectual quality of the Post-Global writers will be much higher.The world will be a much better place to live.Unfortunately, most of the WP writers are completely free of any knowledge of history.Eboo Patel, a founder and CEO of the Shia International Interfaith, is a shining example of this blissful historical illiteracy.In his opinion of the Shia anti-Semite there was only one reason to send the American soldiers to fight Hitler, a respected German leader, friend of the Palestinian Mufti.Otherwise, the nazi Germany was just another European Christian country.Because the American troops were “fighting to free the Jews” the American people have decided to free the Blacks also.Eboo, you should be a President of the Shia Youth for life and do write to the Post-Global of the WP.

  • FUZZYTRUTHSEEKER

    A little knowledge — like, say, the most elementary level of literacy to read newspapers and nothing more — is, as our elders have taught us from time immemorial, a very dangerous thing indeed. To read all the anti-Muslim and anti-Islamic hatred in these comments, one would hardly believe that Gordon Brown of Britain had, just before leaving for Washingtin D.C. to participate in the ongoing Global Summit of the Financial Crisis, completed a tour of Muslim Arab countries to seek their help in shoring up the devastated finances of the IMF. (And, yes, Mr. Patel, thse countries that Brown visited are mostly Sunni countries, although I myself and 99.9999% of the Sunni Muslims I know don’t differentiate betwen Sunni and Shi’a).Ah, well! Blissful ignorance!

  • coloradodog

    Saudis are neither our friends nor our ally.

  • vjg3

    Saudis are only following the teachings of Mohammed. Plus there are 57 other nations, who call themselves Islamic republics- an insult to any non-Muslims still living there.

  • abhab

    Shiblizaman retorts to my post indignantly:“What on EARTH does that (House of Peace) have to do with any declaration of war between Muslims and Non-Muslims”.

  • jachapin

    The overriding cultural feature of the middle east is that everyone is a victim of their culture. Everyone professes liberalism but no one has the courage for action. Even the King of Saudi Arabia is a victim. Cry me a river.

  • Pramster

    Eboo — I agree with a lot of what you said in your post. Except that like many other Western writers, you write about the attitudes towards Shias, Jews and Christians, as if these were the only religions that matter in the Saudi kingdom or elsewhere in the world. There are sizeable pockets of Hindus and Buddhists in the kingdom whose religious rights are laughable at best. And what’s more, by virtue of being “idolaters”, it seems as if Muslims would agree with the religious restrictions placed on them, even while they would have some qualms about people of the Book. And it is also your hypocrisy or blindspot – I don’t know which it is – that you want only to address the issues of the Book people and not all religionists.

  • CCNL

    Saving the Saudi king, Eboo and all the other Muslims out there from centuries of the Three B Syndrome i.e. being Bred, Born and Brainwashed in Islam: The Free Five Point Program-Using “The 77 Branches of Islamic “faith” a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true “faith” (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings.” i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs. “aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc.” should be added to your cleansing neurons.”2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.”Evolution and the Big Bang or the “Gib Gnab” (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the “akas” for Allah should be included if you continue to be a “creationist”.”3. To believe in the existence of angels.”A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/devils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hittites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No “pretty/ugly wingy thingies” ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as fairies and “tinker bells”. Modern devils are classified as the demons of the demented. “4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore.”Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels/”pwtfft”s to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans. Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the uneducated masses in line. Today we call them fortune tellers.”5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone.”Mohammed spent thirty days fasting in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a “pretty wingy thingy”. Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic violence i.e. turning Mohammed’s “fast, hunger-driven” hallucinations into horrible reality for unbelievers. Accept these five “cleansers” and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!

  • borisg

    Ah, Mr Patel says America fought WW2 for the Jews.

  • barbaras1952

    Under the circumstances today religion should be outlawed. It has been the source of wars since the beginning of time. More people have died because of their religious beliefs than any other cause of death. Entire religious populations have been exterminated because of what they believe. This world will never mend their differences. We can’t just beleve what we believe. Different religions sects have to exert their beliefs on others. Even within one religious sect people can’t agree. I am a spiritual person yet my beliefs are not accepted because I won’t put a label on them. People have now and will always believe that, how they believe is the only way and we will not stop until we kill ourselves off.

  • jbrinkmeyer

    Well said as usual, Eboo. I lived in Bahrain for a dozen years and visited Saudi on occasion. The Shi’a are, in fact, a marginalized and sometimes persecuted minority as you point out. Expatriate Christians are not allowed to worship at all in Saudi. Groups gathering for prayer can be arrested and deported. Bibles are confiscated at all ports of entry. This is not a country which shows any signs of being open to positive interfaith relations.Yet I, like you, hold out some hope from this. I believe this may, in fact, signal the willingness of the Saudi authorities to stand up to the extremists among them to do what they need to do to gain respectability in the world community. Until they take steps to allow freedom of worship for guests in their country and give Shi’a Muslims the same access to power and employment as Salafi Sunnis, it will remain only a hope. Hypocrisy or tolerance? Right now it’s hypocrisy.

  • vjg3

    An article about a Shiite Muslim theologian in Germany in today’s Wall St Journal says that the theologian declared there was no Mohammed.He has been advised to watch out for his life in Germany.

  • ShibliZaman

    Now that the grunts have been sorted out, may I address the actual theme of the article itself.I find Eboo’s lack of vision quite disconcerting. You remind me a lot of the fools amongst America’s Muslims (the minority, thank God) whom will never be satisfied with any Presidential candidate unless he completely disavows Israel. What would King Abdullah achieve if he suddenly reversed every single seemingly discriminatory law in Saudi Arabia overnight? Would that change the condition of the PEOPLE THEMSELVES? Absolutely not. Saudi Arabia is in need of REFORM, not lip service from Kings. You all completely ignore the measures that King Abdullah has taken to marginalize, and in many cases FIRE, Imams whose message has been no short of incendiary. At the same time he has allotted a higher profile to reformist Shaykhs like Salman al-`Awdah.Change in a society takes time. If you can’t see the caution with which King Abdullah has to take his steps then I’m afraid you discredit your own analyses.

  • patrick3

    Fortunately we don’t have our own moral Gaza Stri . . ., I mean, blindspots.

  • chorpophone

    religious pluralism? who cares?!

  • truthhurts

    Procrutes, doth thou still lurkist in the shadow, tsk, tsk, tsk. Beware thou, of the Ides of January. Nearer doth history rush forward. Such are the wayeth of comedy. Yours should have known too well. The warnings left unheedeth.

  • Farnaz2

    chorpophone:Interesting comment. Didn’t know the brain-dead could post.

  • abhab

    Zafrullah chides me thus: Quran 9:29 “Fight those who believe not in Allah and His Messenger…..” How many different ways can this gem be interpreted? Or put differently, what context would make this verse a call for tolerance and harmony?

  • jameschirico

    Biggest terrorist sect in the world, the Wahabi’s have their base in Saudi Arabia. The world would be better off with an invasion by a coalition of moderate muslim countries to take back the Holy Land from the perverters of the Quran. Islam does not tolerate differing from their dictated to Mohammed word of God, so when tolerance is disregarded by the Wahabi’s, they are committing an offense against faith. When Islam complains about collateral damage in drone attacks, I remind them that the families of the innocents harmed have a right to a proper revenge. An eye for an eye is part of their faith, as is some people of the book being righteous and going to heaven. When the west is considered the Great Satan in totality, it is not in line with the Quran.

  • nadinebatra

    Muslims refer to Jews and Christians as ‘The People of the Books’ and Islam regards itself as a continuation of the monotheistic tradition established by Abraham.Apart from the differences of details, the long history of political conflict between Islam and Christianity has tended to color the West’s view of Islam. In the wake of 9/11 politicians and sections of the media have tended to portray Islam as a religion that preaches perpetual war on the followers of other faiths.

  • Farnaz2

    Neither Jews nor Christians recognize the prophet Mohammed. Violence against Jews by Muslims is documented in Qu’ran. One thinks of the Quorayza Jews. As well, there is vile language is used against both groups in the same text.The New (sic) Testament claims it supercedes the Tanakh and it’s also antisemitic. The Christians introduced the concept of Pure Blood, limpe pura, pura sangre, responsible for the deaths of hundreds of millions. The writings of Christian theologians, most recently the Pope is rife with anti-Islamic sentiment. Qu’ran claims Mohammed is the last prophet. Then came Joseph Smith who supercedes all.Supersessionist ideology is a dangerous thing. In the hands of the powerful, it is deadly. Religion marries nation states, powerful interestsTime to stop looking at holy texts for reasons to hate one another. It leads to ignorance as in Patel’s statements on WWII, hatred, and violence.

  • mzafrullah

    ABHAB: Thanks for proving my point for me. Let me first give you the translation of the complete verse.This verse refers to those People of the Book who lived in Arabia during those times. Like the idolaters they also had been actively hostile to Islam and had actively planned and plotted to exterminate it. They were still showing signs of defiance and rebellion and you cannot run a country peacefully if you have some rebels in your midst. Muslims were ordered to fight them unless they agreed to live as loyal and peaceful subjects. What is wrong with that? Also note that the fighting that was ordered was conditional, meaning that if those people agreed to be peaceful and agreed to pay tax there would be no war.

  • nadinebatra

    The linguistic term, “SEMITIC” refers to a family of languages including Hebrew, Arabic etc. So, if any one uses the term anti-semitic, it would mean both Anti-Jew and Anti-Arab.Persian belongs to Indo-European family of languages. It is not a semitic language.No one should hate Jews, Arabs, or Christians or any other religion. We must acknowledge the differences in our belief systems but that does not mean hating people for their differences.Tolerance means “live and let others live.” Having different faiths or skin colors, or languages makes our world more interesting.There is nothing wrong for a Black or Hispanic family to have a desire for good life provided they work for it. The same applies to Whites also.

  • Robert2008

    ShibliZaman: Farnaz2 is correct in noting the following: “…Israel is the only country in the region where Muslim have rights, can vote in legitimate elections, and are legitimately represented in the Parliament.” This is a factual statement, and one you cannot refute. It is also a fact that Gazans aren’t citizens of Israel… and there is no reason why they should be.

  • Farnaz2

    “The linguistic term, “SEMITIC” refers to a family of languages”Quite. It was developed in the nineteenth century, where it was expanded by EuroChristians to reify a nonexistent people. The “term” anti-Semitism took on the sense of anti-Jewishness, thence anti-Jewish racism, enabling those who held antisemitic views not to think of themselves as racists.In the late twentieth century, Jewish scholars, well-aware of the original application of the term “semitic” and its historic distortions changed the spelling to antisemitism to signify that there is not now nor has there ever been a people “Semite,” that it is simply reification, racism. Antisemitism is now used interchangeably with anti-Jewish racism.Historically, the term has not been used to mean anti-Arab, which, of course, is not to say that there is no anti-Arab racism.

  • abhab

    Jameschirico opines:“so when tolerance is disregarded by the Wahabi’s, they are committing an offense against (Muslim ) faith.”Intolerance is the core of the Muslim faith. It openly calls for the killing of pagans and idolaters and for oppressing and humiliating the People of the Book i.e. Jews and Christians. The Wahabis are simply more honest with themselves and the others.

  • abhab

    Fazrullah answers my post thus:You say:This mode of bending the necks of verses to make them say what they do not say is a technique favored by Muslim proselytes. It might work with people in Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan but would not work here. We know more about your cult than you think you know.

  • simplesimon33

    And while at it, may be Saudi Arabia will become tolerant enough to allow other faiths like Christianity and Hinduism to grow in Saudi Arabia just as Islam demands right to exist and grow in non-Islamic countries. Afterall why can’t there be a Christian church and a Hindu temple in Mecca and Medina if there are Muslim mosques in Rome and Ayodhya? And all Islamic countries will erase laws that forbid religious conversions. And all Islamic countries will give equal rights to their women. And all religions should have equal right to exist everywhere on this God’s earth and Kafirs have as much right to exist and prosper as devout Muslims regardless of what Koran preaches. And Muslims do not have to wage a jihad against Kafirs simply because Koran preaches so.

  • fredfawcett

    The Saudi’s could do a lot to help this and a slew of other problems if they’d stop supporting the madrassas.How many young men in the world right now, are poisoned beyond help with the hatred that is taught in these despicable institutions of jihad.In addition, the Saudis have the world’s largest oil reserves and the immense wealth they generate. Why do the Shia in Saudi Arabia live in such poverty, amid all this wealth? The same question goes for the Palestinians. Why do they live in wretched refugee camps when their brother arabs have but to sign the check and they’d all be living in decency. For what they spend trying to murder Israelis, the Saudis could have every Palestinian and Shia driving to work in Beamers.

  • Farnaz2

    Fortunately, we don’t have our own anti-semit err blindspots.America entered WWII after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. December 7, 1941–check the date, Eboo, dear.Not only did the US not enter WWII to “save Jews” but it actually kept information from the US regarding the torturing to death of Jews all over Europe both before and after the US entered the war.This was done in league with the New York Times.The fifteen hundred Franciscans (Croat) the ordinary Latvian, Lithuanian, Polish, Hungarian, Estonian, Rumanian, etc., etc., people, ordinary citizens who participated all over Europe, the Franciscans who cut people up with scissors, the Vatican, which still has the Franciscan loot, are not even mentioned today in the history books most students read.And so it goes…but the same good Christians and Muslims read the same garbage they always did. As in “the (sic) Jews” are trying to get McCain elected!!!Now, of course, it is a fact that the majority of Jews have always been Democrats regardless of class, much unlike the Protestants, Christians/Catholics, Muslims, et al. And it is a fact that seventy-eight per cent of all Jewish voters voted for Obama, yet the public, for the most part, is unaware of this. Indeed, when I had my students look up the ethnic breakdown of voters in this presidential election and the voting history of the different ethno-religious groups, they were shocked.Why, they asked, were we given the impression that Jews were Republicans? That they were voting for McCain?Ask who benefits, I replied. Always, always, ask who benefits.They are an honors class, very bright. I’m hoping for one or two publishable articles from them on this. One has already started researching anti-semitism in the US and is headed to researching the phenomena historically.I haven’t told them about the three million Middle Eastern Jews in exile, one of whom I am. They know just a wee bit more than Patel about WWII at this point, nothing about current anti-semitism here and world wide. Interesting, isn’t it. The most recently Christianized nation is Korea, now both Christian and virulently anti-semitic. Them’s the missionaries fer ya.The same ones who brought modern anti-semitism to the Middle East.Don’t want to look at our own anti-semit err blindspots.

  • Farnaz2

    “In addition, the Saudis have the world’s largest oil reserves and the immense wealth they generate. Why do the Shia in Saudi Arabia live in such poverty, amid all this wealth? The same question goes for the Palestinians. Why do they live in wretched refugee camps when their brother arabs have but to sign the check and they’d all be living in decency. For what they spend trying to murder Israelis, the Saudis could have every Palestinian and Shia driving to work in Beamers.”The “House of Saud,” a colonialist imposition hoped that by exporting terror and antisemitism, it might eliminate some of its own. No such luck; that is they certainly increased terror in other countries, notably Pakistan, but terror in SA continues. The oppressed in SA are not only Shia, btw. There are plenty of poor Sunni there, plenty of poor Wahabi.Then, of course, there is the treatment of foreign workers, among them Palestinians, about whose plight there much has been written. Ditto the Palestinians in Egypt, those who weren’t deported, and even in Jordan where they are the majority.There is, despite everything, a legitimate Palestinian middle class. Not all Palestinians are poor. There are as well, old, powerful, wealthy families, who have strangleholds on various parts of Palestine. Some also have homes in the US and elsewhere. I know one such family quite well.Then there are the nouveau thieves, those who steal money intended for the people, who have four Mercedes, etc. One of them was Arafat’s nephew, whom the Palestinian people killed with their own hands.

  • truthhurts

    Eboo, was the Sabbath made for man or was man made for the Sabbath, a question posed by JC centuries ago and still argued today. Shall we heal this economy today or shall we wait until tomorrow, interesting.There could be an Awakening movement started here in the United States through Politics. Young people seem to accept and adapt to change far better than the status quo crowd so I applaud you Eboo for your personal efforts.I expect the year 2009 to be a year of revelations. In order to restore trust in modern government, discovery leading to accountability seems to be the wisdom of elders. Same logic produced the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in the years after the Nixon Regime. Those efforts to shine a light of truth onto modern government came from both Presidents Ford and Carter.I think that reformation of our Democracy will come through adherence to the Constitution, upholding Rule of Law and Foresight which guides the way to a more perfect union for generations to come, God Willing.Recently, I have heard of an immigration case that was heart wrenching to me. A young man from Mexico had been in the United States illegally for over six (6) years. This man has a 3 year old child with a United States citizen. The man was caught breaking the Law and was swiftly deported back to Mexico in just a few short weeks. The system and the individuals involved created another fatherless child. It ain’t right.Somewhere deep in my heart, I believe that the Grace of God or blessings to our Nation are dependent upon our actions as a Nation. I really don’t believe in a punishing God but an omniscient, omnipotent and all loving Entity well beyond the scope of my imagination.Most of us can be grateful for food, clothing, some kind of shelter (a roof over our heads) and transportation optional. Perhaps part of our own Awakening may be that extreme materialism is not really a noble goal in life to be pursued through debt incursions or otherwise.President Lincoln wrote that most people are as happy as they make up their minds to be (happy). Beware of delusional happiness for the cameras. But let us hope for a Happy Thanksgiving. Of course we could put those less fortunate than ourselves on top of the list. Do as they say, not as they do.

  • Farnaz2

    Eboo, Dear,”Consider America during World War II, fighting across Europe to free the Jews”Look up this date: December 7, 1941. (Ask Mommie to help you.)Then explore this topic (again, Dear, ask Mommie to help): History of American antisemitismWith Mommie’s help, check this out: Why the US didn’t bomb the tracks leading to concentration campsThe German-American Bundt,Etc., etc., etc.,Mommie will help, Eboo, Dear. Just ask.

  • mzafrullah

    TRUTHHURTS: Thanks. By the way my name is Muhammad Zafrullah and not what ABHAB called me and following him you did. This ABHAB fellow seems to be an expert at distortion. If I cannot trust him with my name how can I trust him with the half and misleading translation of a verse from a holy book?

  • observer12

    Mr. Patel:You write: “Consider America during World War II, fighting across Europe to free the Jews while its own swimming pools and water fountains were segregated.”I wish I could sincerely ask if this was intended as humor, but I can see it was not. What you write is factually incorrect, and concerns a major piece of American history. No educated American could possibly believe such rubbish. Again, this is not a matter of opinion, but of fact.And how do we square your shocking lack of knowledge with your bio on this blog:”Eboo has a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship.”If we view your ignorance of US conduct in the WWII European theatre in light of the credentials you present, we see a picture in which something is very wrong.Very wrong, indeed.

  • randahassan

    the Saudis do not follow the Saufi sect but the Wahhabi one, there is a great difference, please get your facts right.

  • truthhurts

    Muhammad Zafrullah, I stand corrected thank-you for not taking offense. I am familiar with many sources of misinformation both in private and public domain. In the past, participants on these message boards have encouraged me to read and study facts and opinions some having more worth than others to me. I like doing my own homework myself, keeps the mind busy.

  • abhab

    Truthhurts:“I do indeed agree with you that in the foundation of all religions there is (or at least was) truth.”This is a roundabout way for this guy you addressed along with me to tell you and me what he and all his coreligionists believe about our religions; they are forged. Their reasoning for that is because our scriptures do not foretell the coming of their prophet as they had wished. With the same breath they claim that their religion calls for plurality and respect of the other and their beliefs. The saddest part of all of this is they do not seem to see the contradictions in such a statement or in their scriptures. Except they refer to the more flagrant ones that could not in anyway be ignored as “abrogation” sanctioned by their Allah i.e. Their Allah changes His mind whenever He thinks up a better verse.

  • mzafrullah

    ABHAB: Thanks for offering all those references from the Quran. Usually such “references” turn out to be lifted out of context and/or based on ignorance. I have treated some of them in

  • mzafrullah

    ABHAB: You say: I say: I have given the translation for 9:29 which is different from your twisted one. Ayn-Yadin means upfront payment, which means promises will not be acceptable. “Hand of humility” is a fabrication by folks who want to find fault with the Qur’an at all cost.

  • jamil51

    ABHABLet me know what you believe in.

  • mightysparrow

    That’s not the full extent of the King’s hypocrisy. He recently called the world’s Islamic, Jewish and Christian leaders to a conference to find strategies to convert agnostics, atheists, humanists, etc., to one of the three major monotheistic religions. He called it “unnacceptable” that many people do not adhere to one of the three major religions. This is not religious pluralism! It is clear and unequivocal intolerance. Shame on King Abdullah and the “leaders” who participated in his conference.

  • bolt55

    Saudis are nothing more than ignorant, arrogant bigots. I read the Arabnews daily to get their pathetic perspective on the world. The arabs didnt even know what oil was let alone the internet until the west showed them and gave them an economy. – and now these bastards act like they built the world. Pointing fingers while they sit back an tell the world how smart and noble they are. FU sauidis

  • abhab

    Jamil:

  • mzafrullah

    ABHAB:

  • mzafrullah

    ABHAB: (Part I) Thanks for twisting my name! The name is Zafrullah. It is a good thing that you can read Arabic. It is quite understandable that even though you claim excellence in Arabic you found it very hard to understand just one verse. For the record: You tried to mislead readers of your post by saying:

  • mzafrullah

    ABHA B: (Part II) What is worse and really shameful for a person of your “declared capabilities” is the fact that you did not read the reference you offered:If the People of the Book were to be fought and humiliated before they agreed to become loyal subjects, why did Omar grant “aman” to the civilians of Syria? It appears that when Syrian military was defeated the citizens wrote those conditions and not Omar. He added what he was most concerned about: “They shall not buy anyone made prisoner by the Muslims,” and “WHOEVER STRIKES a Muslim WITH DELIBRATE INTENT shall FORFEIT the PROTECTION of this pact.”