Saudi Arabia: Religious Freedom Still Obscure

News article, posted 03.24.2010, from Saudi Arabia, in:
Source:
Arab Reform Initiative

Religious freedom status in Saudi Arabia is still obscure. Officials have not contribute in any substantial development to restrain and reduce cases of incitement, abuse and hatred promotion against different Islamic sects other than the official one in Saudi Arabia.



During 2008, hatred and incitement speeches and fatwas (religious verdicts) against followers of other religions and trends had continued issuing due to the absence of official efforts in preventing this common approach.



One of the most prominent incitement calls was in 2008 when twenty-two radical Sunni clerics issued a statement in which they considered Shiites as "the most evil, hostile and deceptive trend in the Islamic nation". Some of the most distinctive signers on this statements were Abdullah bin Jubreen, AbdulRahman AlBarrak and Nasir AlOmar.



As a result of a joint prayer that gathered Sunni and Shiite activists, Sheikh AbdulRahman AlBarrak issued a fatwa in June 2008 in which he considered "calling for rapprochement between Sunnis and Shiites is like calling for rapprochement between Christianity and Islam" as an indication to his total rejection to any kind of Sunni-Shiite rapprochement in Saudi Arabia. AlBarrak, in his website, states that "Sunnis and Shiites are contradictive trends, different sects and opposite trends which would never meet". In another fatwa, AlBarrak, also, warned from dealing with Shiite citizens as they are non-Muslims, whereas Sheikh AbdulRahman AlSuhaim believes that Shiites are hypocrites, they (will be in the lowest depths (grade) of the Fire) An-Nisa verse no. 145., and they are the most dangerous enemies for Islam.



In the beginning of 2008, Sheikh AbdulRahman AlSa