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In the Name of God بسم الله

U.s.: Shia Face Discrimination In Saudi Arabia

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U.S.: Shia Face Systematic and Pervasive Discrimination in Saudi Arabia

Shia face systematic and pervasive official and legal discrimination, including in education, employment, the military, housing, political representation, the judiciary, religious practice, and media. Primary reasons include the widely-held view that Shia are polytheists and that they commit apostasy by practicing some of their worship activities, historical Sunni-Shia animosity, and suspicion of Iranian influence on their actions.

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(Ahlul Bayt News Agency) - US secretary of state Hillary Clinton expressed deep concern about the Saudi government which denies its people the most fundamental human rights : the right to believe according to their own conscience – including the freedom to not believe or not follow the religion favored by its ; the right to practice their religion freely, without risking discrimination, arrest, or violence; and the right to educate their children in their own religious traditions; and the freedom to express their beliefs.

The Saudi government did not respect religious freedom in law, but generally permitted Shi'a religious gatherings and non-Muslim private religious practices.

Muslims who did not adhere to the government's interpretation of Islam faced significant political, economic, legal, social, and religious discrimination, including limited employment and educational opportunities, underrepresentation in official institutions, restrictions on religious practice, and restrictions on places of worship and community centers.

In Saudi Arabia , authorities continue to repress Shi'a Muslims, Sulaimaniya Isma'ilis , and others who do not share the government’s religious views.

Now, as you know, the protection of religious freedom is a fundamental concern of the United States going back to the earliest days of our republic, and it remains so today.

U.S. Department of State

Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor July-December, 2010 International Religious Freedom Report

September 13, 2011

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Saudi Arabia

The laws and policies restrict religious freedom, and in practice, the government generally enforced these restrictions. Freedom of religion is neither recognized nor protected under the law and is severely restricted in practice. The country is an Islamic state governed by a monarchy; the king is head of both state and government. According to the basic law, Sunni Islam is the official religion and the country's constitution is the Qur'an and the Sunna (traditions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad). The legal system is based on the government's application of the Hanbali School of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence. The public practice of any religion other than Islam is prohibited, and there is no separation between state and religion. The government did not respect religious freedom in law, but generally permitted Shia religious gatherings and non-Muslim private religious practices. Some Muslims who did not adhere to the government's interpretation of Islam faced significant political, economic, legal, social, and religious discrimination, including limited employment and educational opportunities, underrepresentation in official institutions, restrictions on religious practice, and restrictions on places of worship and community centers.

..... Although many intolerant statements had been removed, some school textbooks continued to contain overtly intolerant statements against Jews and Christians and intolerant references by allusion against Shia and Sufi Muslims and other religious groups. For example they stated that apostates from Islam should be killed if they do not repent within three days of being warned and that treachery is a permanent characteristic of non-Muslims, especially Jews.

...Shiites constitute 10 to 15 percent of the population. Approximately 80 percent of Shia are "Twelvers" (followers of Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdi, whom they recognize as the Twelfth Imam) and are primarily located in the Eastern Province. Twelver Shia adhere to the Jafari school of jurisprudence. Most of the remaining Shiite population are Sulaimaniya Isma'ilis, also known as "Seveners" (those who branched off from the Twelvers to follow Isma'il ibn Jafar as the Seventh Imam).Seveners reside primarily in Najran Province, around the residence of their sect's spiritual leader in Al Mansourah. In the western Hejaz region, there are approximately 100,000 Ashraf (descendants of the Prophet Muhammad) and 150,000 Nakhawala, or "Medina Shia." Additionally, statistics put the number of Zaydis (followers of Zayd ibn Ali, whom they recognize as the fifth Imam) at approximately 500,000. The Zaydis reside primarily in the cities of Jizan and Najran along the border with Yemen.

...The government permits Shiite judges presiding over courts in the Eastern Province to use the Jafari school of Islamic jurisprudence to adjudicate cases in family law, inheritance, and endowment management. There were six Shiite judges, all located in the Eastern Province cities of Qatif and al-Ahsa, where the majority of Shia lived. Shia living in other parts of the Eastern Province, Najran Province, and the western Hejaz region had no access to local, regional, or national Shiite courts.

Shia face systematic and pervasive official and legal discrimination, including in education, employment, the military, housing, political representation, the judiciary, religious practice, and media. Primary reasons include the widely-held view that Shia are polytheists and that they commit apostasy by practicing some of their worship activities, historical Sunni-Shia animosity, and suspicion of Iranian influence on their actions.

...Unlike for Sunni mosques, the government does not finance construction or maintenance of Shiite mosques, and the process for obtaining a government-required license for a Shiite mosque is reportedly unclear and arbitrary. However, Shia have the right to manage their own mosques and to be supervised by Shiite scholars...

Shiite courts' powers are limited by the fact that any litigant who disagrees with a ruling can seek a new decision from a Sunni court. Sunni court rulings can void Shiite court rulings, and government departments can choose not to implement judgments rendered by Shiite judges. Jurisdictionally these courts are only allowed to rule on cases in the Qatif and al-Ahsa areas; Shia from other regions cannot use such courts.

Most Shia expressed general concerns about discrimination in religious practice, education, employment, political representation, the judiciary, and the media.

The government generally limited public religious practice to activities that conform to the official interpretation of Islam. Practices that diverged from the official interpretation, such as celebrating Maulid Al-Nabi (the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad) and visits to the tombs of renowned Muslims, were forbidden. Enforcement was more relaxed in some communities than in others. For example, authorities allowed Shia in the Eastern Province city of Qatif greater freedom in their religious practices, including the public commemoration of Ashura (the "day of grief"). This event was held with minimal government interference. In other areas with large Shiite populations, such as al-Ahsa and Dammam, authorities restricted Shiite religious activities, including public observances of Ashura, public marches, loudspeaker broadcasts of clerics' lectures from Shiite community centers, and, in some instances, gatherings within those centers.

Shia described restrictions on their visits to Mecca and Medina as interference by Riyadh-based authorities in private Muslim worship. In addition government religious authorities continued the practice of destroying ancient Islamic historical sites.

Shiite mosques in mixed religious neighborhoods reportedly were required to recite the Sunni call to prayer, which is distinct from the Shiite call, at prayer times. Moreover, although Shia combine two of the five daily Sunni prayers, Shiite businessmen were often forced to close their shops during all five prayer times, in accordance with the country's official Sunni practices.

Link To Full Report http://abna.ir/data.asp?lang=3&id=266230

Edited by Noah-
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The imperialist Amerikkkans have always known and supported this discrimination against the Shi'a Muslims of Saudi Arabia.

And against the Shias of Bahrain, Iran, Iraq [under Saddam], Syria and also supported many parties and governments against Shias of Pakistan... But, what if they change path and stop being hypocrites about HR claims and democracy and limit their negative activities against the people of the region? We don't have to complain about that. We complained too much to the dictator Arab governments so they try to be humanized and stop discrimination and oppression against Shias, but these little ignorant Arab dictators think that they are insured for life by the West! The world is changing, the governments have to take their steps very carefully to maintain their interests, even the most powerful country of the world, the US.

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Theres a difference between the US supporting a government, and the US running a government. The US may support the Saudi Government, but it does not control how the Saudi Government runs its finer details. Which is why you may see Obama with their king, while simultaneously recognizing reports that others provide.

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Theres a difference between the US supporting a government, and the US running a government. The US may support the Saudi Government, but it does not control how the Saudi Government runs its finer details. Which is why you may see Obama with their king, while simultaneously recognizing reports that others provide.

I actually agree, but at the same time, the United States and Britain have actively funded the Saudi Government, which in turn puts the burden brought about by that funding and alliance partly on their shoulders. I wouldn't say they are directly responsible for everything, of course, but still...

Edited by Saintly_Jinn23
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I actually agree, but at the same time, the United States and Britain have actively funded the Saudi Government, which in turn puts the burden brought about by that funding and alliance partly on their shoulders. I wouldn't say they are directly responsible for everything, of course, but still...

Ya, well the US also isnt exactly 1 entity. Its a combination of 300 million people with 300 million interests. People often mention the whole concept of being "hypocrites" but in reality, in any political motion, there are many who act.

So firstly, nobody should be surprised if the US funds one organization and then criticizes it. Secondly, nobody should be under the impression that only 1 man calls the shots. Not only that, but every country, or atleast most countries work in this same way. (most democratic countries anyway).

Someone mentioned something earlier about change in diplomacy in the US. The US indeed is ever changing with the times, both the people and the government. So indeed actions, opinions, support, and overall diplomacy im sure will change in the future. People work hard in favor of their interests, and often peace is within the interest of many countries. So perhaps in time, things will be ok.

Edited by iSilurian
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Both Hiilary and Obama in some cases fight for great things. Realistically, the US government would benefit from peace and stability within the middle east, and most people understand this. With that said, in certain cases, people like Hilary and Obama have interests similar to those of people in various middle eastern countries. The US wants stability of its ally, that is Saudi, but likewise it wants democratic values from its ally. This is not unreasonable and explains this topic discussion.

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From what I have observed, US hypocrisy gets it in more trouble than what it does. The US gets hammered for working with dictatorships in large part because it tries to make everyone think its foreign policy is based purely on principles. When this doesn't match reality (while is most of the time) people think they are being taken for a ride, and figure the US is lying through its teeth. They then speculate on the 'real' motive and the result is usually not flattering. Lots of other countries e.g. China do business with Saudi Arabia and others but China makes no particular claim it is doing anything but business, so people end up resenting them less. It is an interested point of the human mental process. People often seem to be more willing to deal with outright mistreatment than the half-lies and hypocrisy the US government is so adept at.

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From what I have observed, US hypocrisy gets it in more trouble than what it does. The US gets hammered for working with dictatorships in large part because it tries to make everyone think its foreign policy is based purely on principles.

I dont think the US has ever claimed to be an ally of Saudi based on "Principles". As a matter of fact ive never been given anything remotely related to such a thing.

However, Principles and benefits often go hand in hand. When the world preaches for things like democracy in a country that is a dictatorship, then its essentially killing two birds with one stone.

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