Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Right Message Wrong Messenger

There is a lot to be said about the promotion of Islam's tolerant side. After all, Islam is no more violent in origin than other religions and there are a great many Muslims that live in peace with their neighbours. However, isn't the idea of this message of tolerance coming from the Saudi Arabian monarch slightly ironic? After all, Saudi Arabia is probably the most vicious human rights abuser in the region, if not the world. The BBC reports:

Saudi Arabia's monarch has urged Muslims to speak with one voice in preparation for interfaith dialogue with the Jewish and Christian worlds.

King Abdullah was speaking at a three-day conference in Mecca, attended by hundreds of Muslim delegates.

The king, whose country is mainly Sunni Muslim, said extremists were exploiting the tolerant nature of Islam.

Correspondents say the message was that the Sunni kingdom was now in agreement with moderate Shia Muslims such as Mr Rafsanjani, a former Iranian president.

"You have gathered today to tell the whole world that... we are a voice of justice and values and humanity, that we are a voice of coexistence and a just and rational dialogue," King Abdullah told the delegates.

Extremism was a challenge to Islam that targeted the "magnanimity, fairness and lofty aims" of the religion, he said.

"That's why this invitation was extended - to face the challenges of isolation, ignorance and narrow horizons, so that the world can absorb the good message of Islam."

Now, as I say, there is a lot to be said for the message, there has been far too much singling out of Islam as an intolerant religion, but Saudi Arabia? The fact that many of the extremists origins are in Saudi Arabia tells you all you need to know about this brutal regime. Of course, the Bush regime is happy to overlook this and focus on more 'threatening' forces in the region, but Saudi is ok. How a Saudi monarch can talk about emphasising the moderate aspects of Islam when the country has placed heavy emphasis on more radical teachings, and keep a straight face, is beyond me.