Saudi Arabia does not celebrate diversity. This Middle Eastern kingdom’s deadly narrow-mindedness should disqualify it from receiving Washington’s support. Given the headlines this country recently has generated, one wonders how its dictator, Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz, will slip past U.S. Passport Control, much less enjoy an upcoming summit at President Bush’s Texas ranch.
The Saudi government daily, Al Riyadh, published a March 10 article in which King Faisal University professor Umayma Ahmad Al-Jalahma described how “Jewish vampires” celebrate the Jewish Purim festival: “For this holiday, the Jewish people must obtain human blood so that their clerics can prepare the holiday pastries. In other words, the practice cannot be carried out as required if human blood is not spilled.” (For a full translation, visit the Middle East Media Research Institute.)
Saudi-funded madrassahs, or religious schools, teach young Muslims worldwide to hate Americans and non-Muslims alike. As the Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss and Emily Wax reported February 25, the Saudi-subsidized Islamic Saudi Academy in Northern Virginia plays its part, too. According to one of its 1,300 pupils, the school’s teachers “focus more on hatred” and “teach students that whatever is kuffar [non-Muslim], it is okay for you” to hurt or rob. An 11th grade textbook says that as Judgment Day comes, Jews will conceal themselves behind trees. The trees, in turn, will say: “Oh, Muslim, Oh, servant of God, here is a Jew hiding behind me. Come here and kill him.”
Tragedy struck a school in Mecca on March 11. As Mona Eltahawy explained in the March 19 Washington Post, a group of 13-to-17-year old girls was inside a cramped classroom building when a fire erupted. When firemen reached the blaze, agents of the mutawwaiin, or Islamic morality police, kept the girls inside the facility because they had removed their abayas or black, head-to-toe robes. Some reportedly were beaten into retreat. According to one Saudi paper, the religious authorities also prevented firefighters and other men from rescuing the girls, saying: “It is sinful to approach them.” An ensuing stampede killed 15 girls and injured 52 others.
Three Saudi men, according to an Interior Ministry statement, “were found guilty of engaging in the extreme obscenity and ugly acts of homosexuality, marrying among themselves and molesting the young.” While this case’s alleged pederasty carries it beyond the defensible actions of consenting adults, civilized people would agree that these men did not deserve to be beheaded last January 1 in the southwestern city of Abha. In April 2001, nine young Saudi men were convicted of “deviant sexual behavior,” namely gay sex and cross-dressing. Five were sentenced to 2,600 lashes with bamboo sticks and six years in prison, according to the Associated Press. Four were given 2,400 lashes and five years.
It’s bad enough that Saudi Arabia is governed as if Locke never lived and Hobbes never died. The anti-Semitic, misogynistic homophobes who populate the House of Saud are not content to abuse their own people. By exporting the virulent Wahabbi strain of Islam to overseas mosques and religious schools, Saudi Arabia supports often anti-American clerics and teachings. Saudi businessmen suspected of financing al Qaeda, such as Yassin al-Qadi, enjoy government protection from U.S. investigators, as did 13 Saudis indicted by a U.S. grand jury for participating in the fatal 1996 Khobar Towers bombing. Fittingly, 15 of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudis, as are at least 100 of the 300 accused terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Unfortunately, Saudi citizens see America as sponsors of the hoodlums who grind their faces into the sand. As defense scholar Doug Bandow argues in a new Cato Institute report, removing U.S. troops from Saudi soil likely would reduce the guilt-by-association America suffers for standing behind this corrupt band of Medieval thugs.
As Abdulrahman al-Zamil, a member of the high-level Shoura Council argues, “the U.S. military presence is very unpopular throughout Saudi society and is a liability rather than an asset.” Such jaw-dropping, official ingratitude is reason enough to withdraw American troops from Saudi bases and shift U.S. interests from Riyadh toward Russian and Trans-Caucus oil suppliers. With any luck, this will leave the House of Saud stark naked to the wrath of its oppressed subjects.