Skip to content

Schumer-Collins: 15 Senators Demand U.S. Take Stronger Action Against Saudis For Egregious Violations Of Religious Freedoms

Bipartisan Letter Sent in Anticipation of March 15th Deadline for State Dept. to Act on Saudi Religious Freedom Violations
Freedom House Report Reveals Saudi Government Exports Extremist Religious Teachings in America

Today, Senators Charles Schumer (DNY) and Susan Collins (RME) were joined by thirteen colleagues from both sides of the aisle in sending a letter to Secretary Condoleezza Rice to express appreciation for the Department of States 2004 designation of Saudi Arabia as a country of particular concern (CPC) for its systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom. The Senators also expressed a strong desire to see the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia defined more clearly. This letter was sent in anticipation of the March 15 deadline for the State Department to act on their own 2004 designation of Saudi Arabia as a severe violator of religious freedom as defined by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998.

Sen. Schumer said, 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 antiAmerican, antiwomen, antiSemitic 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.

This report raises some disturbing concerns about the spread of extremist materials in American mosques and Islamic centers, Senator Collins said. If we are going to win the war on terrorism, these types of actions cannot be tolerated. 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 SchumerCollins bipartisan letter refers in part to the Freedom Houses Center for Religious Freedom report which gathered vast amounts of Saudi government publications on the ideology of hate in America, as well as Saudi intolerance towards its own citizens:
� Samples of over 200 books and other publications from American mosques used to educate its members that preach a Nazilike hatred for Jews and promote contempt for the United States because it is ruled by legislated civil law rather than by totalitarian Wahhabistyle Islamic law.
� One such document, distributed through the Saudi Arabian Embassys Cultural Dept. 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 report explicitly concludes that Saudi Arabia is the state most responsible for the propagation of these publications within our borders and that these publications are often official publications of a Saudi ministry or distributed by the Embassy of Saudi Arabia in Washington, D.C. to mosques and Islamic centers in American cities.
� Recent municipal elections completely shut women out of the process. Saudi Arabia severely limits the freedom of movement of women and discriminates against women in education, employment, access to healthcare, marriage, and inheritance.

The Senators urge Sec. Rice to to persuade the Saudi Arabian government to work with the United States in curtailing their distribution & and call for specific actions taken to condemn and curtail Saudi Arabian support for extremist ideology, promote equality and reform within Saudi Arabia, and to clearly outline a broad based foreign policy strategy that will support these goals.

In agreement with and in support of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, the SchumerCollins letter also calls for the State Department to respond decisively to Saudi support for extremist religious ideologies as required by the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998 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 dualuse 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 Arabias efforts to export militant Wahhabi ideology throughout the world inflame the type of antiAmerican 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.

The Senators signing the letter are: Schumer, Collins, Bayh, Chambliss, Smith, Brownback, Ensign, Lautenberg, Coleman, Wyden, Dodd, Kohl, Nelson (NE), Dorgan, and Santorum.

Click here to view letter.