Coming soon to a parliament near you?
This news story appeared in DAWN today —
RIYADH, April 23: Saudi Arabia has detained 40 Pakistani Christians for holding prayers at a house in the kingdom, where practicising any religion other than Islam is illegal, newspapers said on Saturday. A group of men, women and children were attending the service in the capital Riyadh when police raided the house, Al Jazirah newspaper said. It said authorities also found Christian tapes and books. Another Saudi daily, Al Yaum, said the raid took place on Friday while a Pakistani preacher was delivering a sermon. It was not clear what measures might be taken against the group. Saudi authorities were not immediately available to comment. There are around six million foreigners in the kingdom, which has a population of 23 million, including many Christians from Europe, North America, Asia and other Arab states. In a rare official rebuke of a close ally last year, Washington accused Saudi Arabia of severe violations of religious freedom. Following the Sept 11, 2001 attacks, which were carried out by mainly Saudis, the Gulf Arab state’s religious establishment came under sharp criticism by the West for fostering militancy and intolerance of other religions.—Reuters
Following, as it does, on the heels of another similar incident (see next para) it should be a cause for grave concern. It is likely that, emboldened by these moves in Soddy Arabia, the Mad Mullah Alliances in other Islamic countries will try and make similar proposals. Even without the success of these nuts, it will offer a justification in many countries where Muslims could begin begin to face similar restrictions.
At the end of March 2005, according to a number of newspaper and news wire reports, Saudi Arabian religious police destroyed a makeshift Hindu temple in an old district of Riyadh and deported three worshippers found there. Members of the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (pretty Orwellian, eh?), or the so-called "religious police," stumbled across a room in an apartment that was converted into a Hindu temple and destroyed it. A caretaker who was found in the worshipping area ignored the religious police's order to stop performing his rituals, and thus he, along with two other men who arrived on the scene to worship, were deported from the country. The police made their discovery while raiding a number of apartments suspected of being used for the manufacture of alcohol and the distribution of pornographic videos.
The Hindu temple was in the apartment of the worshippers. It was in their private space. The "religious police" had no right to destroy it. This is a gross violation of the freedom of worship that is guaranteed by the very Qur'an these "religious police" claim to uphold. The Qur'an says, "There is no compulsion in matters of faith" (2:256). It is quite clear. Yes, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was sent to purify the Ka'ba, the central shrine in Mecca first built by Abraham and his son Ishmael (peace be upon them both), from the gods that were put there. Yes, Islam is strictly monotheistic. But this Hindu temple was not at the Ka'ba. It was in a private apartment in Riyadh. They had no right to destroy it. What if a bunch of FBI agents had raided a Muslim's apartment and destroyed a makeshift mosque there? Muslims around the world would have been up in arms, and rightly so