On Wednesday, Nov. 12th, talks began among many world leaders regarding the spread of religious tolerance. The talks are sponsored by the Saudi government, which has a dismal record of religious intolerance. And the meeting has been largely condemned as a propaganda device by the Human Rights Watch…read their report
Ali al-Ahmed, a Shiite Muslim from Saudi Arabia, is quoted in the International Herald Tribune as saying, “It’s like apartheid South Africa having a conference at the UN on racial harmony.”
It is not the mere fact that the Saudi Government has a special police force to target religious dissenters or even various non-Wahabi Muslim sects, but the government is calling for the disparagement of religion to be condemned. In response, I would like to share some of the work of the late George Carlin (this video contains explicit language):
I personally believe that spirituality and individual spiritual expression is one of the great beauties of the human experience. And I believe that another is the freedom of speech and the rights of people to express their views openly, not without the threat of criticism, but without the threat of oppression. The Saudi government will continue to govern as it sees fit, but they should not be the voice for other nations in the promotion of religious tolerance as long as they exhibit little themselves.
On the radio program Speaking of Faith, Vincent Cornell speaks about the Wahabi movement and how it illustrates the dangers inherent in literalistic religious adherance.