Saudi King Abdullah: trying to elevate Islam above criticism…
(IsraelNN.com) The widely publicized Saudi-backed interfaith meeting held at the United Nations this week wasÂ a front to promote a global law against blasphemy, two religious freedom leaders wrote in theÂ Christian Science Monitor. The proposed law would “crush religious freedom,” according to Donald Argue and Leonard Leo.
Fatwa bans emoticons
“Fatwa: Emoticons are Un-Islamic,” from theÂ Jawa Report, November 12 (thanks to Jeffrey Imm):
They reported that Saudi King Abdullah is pushing for a proposal sponsored by the 56-member Organization of Islamic Conference that wants a law that ostensibly guarantees respect for religions, places of worship, and their symbols, “therefore preventing the derision of what people consider sacred.”
“The lofty-sounding principle is, in fact, a cleverly coded way of granting religious leaders the right to criminalize speech and activities that they deem to insult religion,” they wrote in theÂ Monitor.
“Holding a session on advancing interfaith dialogue abroad is a pale substitute for hosting it in the kingdom, where the message of respect for freedom of religion and belief is most needed,” Leo and Argue stated.
Saudi Arabia does not permit the public practice of any religion except for Islam. A government agency, called the Commission to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice, patrols the country with whips to enforce the law.
In one recent case, King Abdullah intervened after publicity of a decision to sentence a woman to 200 lashes and six months in prison for traveling in a car with a man who was not her relative. The pardon came after she was gang-raped by seven men as punishment.
Former French Prime Minister Alain Juppe, speaking for the European Union, warned at the conference that dialogue cannot be carried out without free speech, referring to the 2005 publication in a Danish newspaper of caricatures of Prophet Mohammed with a bomb in his turban.
In response, Muslim riots throughout the world resulted in several deaths.
Media covering the U.N. conference focused on King Abdullah’s statements that religion should not be used as a front for terrorism. His country is infested with anti-Kingdom terrorists, many of them affiliated with Al Qaeda.
King Abdullah has been trying to improve Saudi Arabia’s image since the September 11 terrorist attacks were carried out by 15 Saudi terrorists among the 19 who were on the airplanes that crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
President Shimon Peres also spoke at the conference, and media noted it was the first time that a Saudi Arabia official has not walked out when an Israeli spoke.