Responding to a report revealing Saudi exportation of religious extremism to the U.S., 15 senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice demanding the Bush administration take stronger action against Riyadh.
The letter was sent in anticipation of today’s deadline for the State Department to act on its own 2004 designation of Saudi Arabia as a severe violator of religious freedom as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.
Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, were among the signers of the letter, which called for the U.S. to define its relationship Saudi Arabia more clearly.
Schumer stated: “It is a massive contradiction that a country we call an ally could be both so regressive in their own country and so brazen in its propagation of anti-American, anti-women, anti-Semitic books, publications, and practices. American security is undermined as the Saudi government exports these hateful commodities to millions beyond its borders, planting the seeds for new generations of terrorists and totalitarian Wahhabi leaders.”
As WorldNetDaily reported, a year-long study by a Washington human-rights group said the government of Saudi Arabia is disseminating propaganda through American mosques that teaches hatred of Jews and Christians and instructs Muslims that they are on a mission behind enemy lines in a land of unbelievers.
The 89-page report by Freedom House’s Center for Religious Freedom, “Saudi Publications on Hate Ideology Fill American Mosques,” concludes the Saudi government propaganda examined reflects a “totalitarian ideology of hatred that can incite to violence.”
The report says the fact it is “being mainstreamed within our borders through the efforts of a foreign government, namely Saudi Arabia, demands our urgent attention.”
Collins said the report “raises some disturbing concerns about the spread of extremist materials in American mosques and Islamic centers.”
“If we are going to win the war on terrorism, these types of actions cannot be tolerated,” she said. “It is important that the Saudi Arabian government join us in this fight and stop supporting the spread of ideologies that promote hatred and intolerance around the world.”
The Freedom House report cited samples of more than 200 books and other publications from American mosques used to educate its members that preach a “Nazi-like hatred for Jews” and “promote contempt for the United States because it is ruled by legislated civil law rather than by totalitarian Wahhabi-style Islamic law.”
One highlighted document, distributed through the Saudi Arabian Embassy’s Cultural Department in Washington, is a fatwa against the taking of American citizenship by Muslims and thereby “acquiescing to their infidelity and accepting all their erroneous ways.”
The Schumer-Collins letter calls for the State Department “to respond decisively to Saudi support for extremist religious ideologies” as required by the International Religious Freedom Act for countries found to be severe violators of religious freedom, by:
- Identifying Saudi agencies and officials responsible for violations of religious freedom and issuing a proclamation barring Saudi officials who propagate hateful and intolerant ideology from entering the U.S.;
- Issuing a demarche urging the government of Saudi Arabia to cease support for activities throughout the world that explicitly promote hate and human rights violations;
- Ordering the heads of U.S. agencies not to issue licenses or authorities for the export of items on the Commerce Control List of dual-use items to an agency or instrument of the government of Saudi Arabia that is responsible for committing particularly severe violations of religious freedom;
- Raise concerns at the highest levels with the government of Saudi Arabia regarding the ongoing and repeated violations of internationally recognized human rights and to develop specific initiatives to advance human rights, including the rights of women, religious freedom, and the rule of law.
The letter concluded, “Saudi Arabia’s efforts to export militant Wahhabi ideology throughout the world inflame the type of anti-American sentiments that lie behind the potential of terrorist attacks that continue to be the greatest threat to our national security. Therefore, it is essential that Saudi Arabia be held accountable for its support of radical Islamic ideology.”
Along with Schumer and Collins, senators who signed the letter were: Evan Bayh, D-Ind., Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.; Gordon Smith, R-Ore.; Sam Brownback, R-Kan.; John Ensign, R-Nev.; Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J; Norm Coleman R-Minn; Ron Wyden, D-Ore.; Christopher Dodd, D-Conn.; Herb Kohl, D-Wis.; Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; Byron Dorgan, D-N.D.; and Rick Santorum, R-Pa.