Saudis: No

The Bush administration has decided to reject the recommendation to place Saudi Arabia on an American blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom
Newsweek, Mar. 10, 2003

March 10 issue — In a move expected to infuriate religious conservatives and human-rights advocates alike, the Bush administration has decided to reject the recommendation of a special government commission to place Saudi Arabia on an American blacklist of countries that violate religious freedom.

Information about U.S. human rights violations and related issues is included in this web log for the following reasons:

America’s goverment frequently accuses and even threathens (e.g. with economic boycotts) countries that protect their citizens against destructive and/or fraudulent cults of violating ‘human rights.’

Meanwhile, Washington consistently and deliberately fails to address America’s serious, real human rights violations.

As a Christian, the publisher of Apologetic Index / Religion News Blog believes that he (and other Christians) should address human rights violations.

As a member of Amnesty International, the publisher of Apologetics Index / Religion News Blog is an outspoken critic of America’s manifold human rights violations.

Newsweek has learned  that Secretary of State Colin Powell is expected to shortly release an annual list of “countries of particular concern”—a formal branding of nations the U.S. government concludes engage in “systemic, ongoing and egregious” violations of the rights of religious minorities. After a contentious internal battle, the Saudis won’t be on it—despite the conclusion by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom that, with the demise of the Taliban, the Islamic nation is probably the worst oppressor of religious rights in the world. “I’m appalled and disappointed,” says Felice D. Gaer, the commission chair, about the decision. “But I’m not surprised.”

This year’s battle over the religious blacklist was being closely watched because members of Congress and an array of religious-conservative groups—who have close ties to the White House—have become increasingly agitated over the Saudi issue. One commissioner, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention, weighed in with White House aides, describing it as a high-priority item for evangelical Christians. Land tells NEWSWEEK he was greatly influenced by a briefing the commission got last fall in which human-rights groups and religious dissidents described how the Saudi religious police raided the homes of foreign workers practicing Christianity and threw them into overcrowded prisons with squalid conditions. “It’s unthinkable to me that our government is not pressing the Saudis on this,” says Land. But senior administration officials, including some at the White House, concluded that publicly chastising the Saudis would be counterproductive—and might interfere with broader U.S. interests in the region. That stand appeared to pay off last week: after months of resistance, Saudi Arabia agreed to allow the United States to use its air bases in the event of war with Iraq.

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Religion News Blog posted this on Monday March 3, 2003.
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