Saudi Arabia may be the country in the world most different from the United States, especially where religion is concerned. An important new bill introduced by Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.) aims to take a step toward fixing a monumental imbalance.
Pray any way you wish in America, so long as you do not break the law. Non-Muslims who pray with others in Saudi Arabia engage in an illicit activity that could get them busted, as though they had participated in a drug party.
The United States, obviously, has no sacred cities open only to members of a specific faith. KSA has two of them, Mecca and Medina; trespassers who are caught will meet with what the Saudi authorities delicately call “severe punishment.”
With only rare (and probably illegal) exceptions, the U.S. government does not fund religious institutions abroad (and those exceptions tend to be for Islamic institutions).
One could argue that Islamic countries essentially are religious institutions [see al-din wa’l-dawla, meaning “the religion and the polity”—a phrase that holds Islam to be both a religion and a body of rules governing society and state].
In contrast, the Saudi monarchy has spent globally an estimated US $100 billion to spread its Wahhabi version of Islam. Products of Saudi-funded Wahhabi schools and mosques have often been incited to political violence against non-Muslims.
The Saudis have been arrogantly indiscreet about spending to promote Wahhabism. For example, a 2005 Freedom House report reviewed some of the extremist literature provided to the public by Saudi-funded institutions and concluded that it poses “a grave threat to non-Muslims and to the Muslim community itself.” The monarchy has also given multiple and generous grants to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the most aggressive and effective Islamist organization in the United States.
This discrepancy, a version of which exists in every Western country, demands a solution.
Brat’s proposed bill, H.R. 5824, the “Religious Freedom International Reciprocity Enhancement Act,” makes it unlawful for “foreign nationals of a country that limits the free exercise of religion in that country to make any expenditure in the United States to promote a religion in the United States, and for other purposes.”
Hello, Saudi Arabia!
To “promote a religion” includes funding “religious services, religious education, evangelical outreach, and publication and dissemination of religious literature.” Should funding proceed anyway in defiance of this bill, the U.S. government can seize the monies.
The bill needs more work: it omits mention of religious buildings, offers no criteria for seizure of property, and does not indicate who would do the seizing. But it offers an important beginning. I commend it and urge its urgent consideration and adoption.
Americans cannot abide aggressive unilateral actions by Riyadh (or, for that matter, Tehran and Doha) exploiting their oil bonanza to smother the secularist principles basic to Western life. We must protect ourselves.
Read it all. As Pipes notes, the bill needs more work, a lot of work.
It’s not just the Saudi’s who play this game though, recall Turkey funded a $100M mosque in Maryland and there is a network of hundreds of notorious Turkish schools across the U.S.
The Pakistani’s have been caught funding activities too. The Shia’s have their networks as well.
If Hillary Clinton is placed in the White House this has no chance of surviving in any fashion and Saudi money, Saudi Prince Says Funded 20% Of Hillary Clinton’s Presidential Campaign, and Saudi Wahabbi Muslims will pour in.
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