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Religious Apartheid

by Rabbi Shraga Simmons; Mar 19, 2012 at 12:00:00 AM

Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia (the country’s supreme religious figure), has declared it "necessary to destroy all the churches” in the Arabian Peninsula. This ruling is based on Muhammad’s declaration that "there cannot to be two religions” in the region, which has long been understood that anything other than Islam is “illegal.”

Saudi Arabia openly practices religious apartheid, with special roads and even entire cities for "Muslims only." Non-Muslim religious activities carry the risk of arrest, imprisonment, lashing and deportation. In 2008, Saudi police arrested 40 Christians for the "crime" of praying in a private house. A notice on the Saudi Airlines website prohibited the possession of any non-Islamic religious symbols – Bibles, crucifixes and the Star of David – mentioning them in the same breath as narcotics, firearms and pornography.

Remember when President George H.W. Bush went to celebrate Thanksgiving with American troops? Saudi authorities protested his intention to say grace, and the celebration had to be moved to international waters aboard the U.S.S. Durham.

By contrast, Israel is the only country in the Middle East where the Christian population is steadily increasing. Similarly, Israel permits its one million Muslim residents to freely build minarets, wear burqas and pray in the streets – activities that are variously illegal in the "progressive" nations of Switzerland, Holland, Belgium and France.

Part of the difference, I believe, is that Judaism does not proselytize or demand that everyone become Jewish. The prophet Isaiah referred to the Holy Temple in Jerusalem as a "house for all nations." In fact Maimonides states that the popularity of Christianity and Islam are part of God’s plan to spread the ideals of monotheism throughout the world.

Think about this next time someone accuses Israel of “racism” or “apartheid.”

March 19, 2012

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Visitor Comments: 2

(2) stan, March 20, 2012 4:13 PM

Listening to anything depends on intent and willingness and benefit. The remainder is commentary

(1) Anonymous, March 20, 2012 2:43 PM

the Christian population is growing in Israel???

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