Archive for the ‘Saudi Arabia – Human rights’ category

UN to jailed Islamic dissidents: “You will love it”

May 12, 2017

UN to jailed Islamic dissidents: “You will love it”  Israel National News, Giulio Meotti, May 12, 2017

Now, the favorite to succeed Irina Bokova is a Qatari politician and a Saudi will be the spokesman for the UN agency conference, while an Iranian will be the head of its executive board. They call it the “Islamic Troika”. That is the purpose of these exclusive nights at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh whose slogan is: “You will love it!”. 

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Why miss a long weekend at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh, where “spacious marble bathrooms boast deep soaking bathtubs” and are waiting for you?

This is what the 2,100 delegates of 400 Western non-governmental organizations thought when attending last weekend’s forum on “Youth and their Social Impact” sponsored by the United Nations. Participants of the gentle sex were asked to wear the abaya, the long caftan-like robe that veils Saudi women. Men were asked not to give their left hand, impolite under Islam. 

The event was organized by a foundation of the Saudi ruling family and was attended by, among others, Unesco’s Secretary General Irina Bokova, the founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, the French intellectual Jacques Attali, and Bloomberg Media Executive, Justin Smith.

Obviously, to save face, all these humanitarian organizations had to ignore the fact that a few miles from their forum Abdullah al Attawi and Mohammed al Oteibi had been persecuted and found “guilty” of having founded a human rights organization.

The two stars of Western journalism present in Riyadh, the Wikipedia chief and Bloomberg executive, had to avoid thinking that a hero of freedom of speech and open sources of information regarding which Wikipedia pretends to be a pioner, languishes in a Saudi prison at this moment. It is Raif Badawi, a liberal blogger lashed by the Saudi rulers.

They had to silence the case of Waleed Abu al Khair, who was condemned to fifteen years in prison for comments he made on human rights. Or the journalist Alaa Brinji, sentenced to five years in prison for criticizing religious authorities and sustaining women’s rights. A year ago, the Saudis arrested all the leadership of the Saudi Civil and Political Rights Association for supporting pro-democracy reforms.

They did not have to talk about them at this forum.

One of the most courageous NGOs, UN Watch, condemned the event: “Regrettably, Unesco, the U.N. agency for education, science, and culture, mentioned nowhere at its 7th International Forum of NGO, or on the conference website, that Saudi Arabia prohibits independent NGOs and arrests, jails and even sometimes flogs human rights activists”.

The UN forum was sponsored by the wealthy MiSK foundation, a Saudi charity led by Mohammad bin Salman, the Saudi defense minister who led the Yemen bombing that killed 10,000 civilians and imposed a naval blockade on medical supplies, resulting in twenty million Yemenites who now need humanitarian assistance and seven million suffering from hunger.

But the Riyadh forum tells more. It tells us about the level of penetration of Islamic regimes in the UN human rights councils and commissions. In fact, in six months, Unesco has approved two resolutions that have cancelled the Jewish roots of Jerusalem, while the Saudis have also been able to get re-elected at the UN Commission on Women’s Rights.

Two years ago, during the same hours that medieval Saudi justice flogged Raif Badawi, a delegation from the United Nations landed at Gedda to promote an international conference on religious freedom. No, it’s not a joke. Joachim Rücker, the president of the UN Human Rights Council, was photographed smiling at the side of the guardians of the Wahhabite regime. The Obama administration also sent two envoys to the Gedda conference: the Ambassador for Religious Freedom, David Saperstein, and Arsalan Suleman, the envoy at the Organization for Islamic Cooperation.

There was also Heiner Bielefeldt, United Nations Special Envoy for Religious Freedom, a well-known scholar of Immanuel Kant, who must have seen applications of his philosophical reason in the whip that slashed the blogger.

Now, the favorite to succeed Irina Bokova is a Qatari politician and a Saudi will be the spokesman for the UN agency conference, while an Iranian will be the head of its executive board. They call it the “Islamic Troika”. That is the purpose of these exclusive nights at the Four Seasons Hotel in Riyadh whose slogan is: “You will love it!”.

Misogyny Meet Irony: Saudi Arabia Elected To United Nation’s Women’s Rights Commission

April 24, 2017

Misogyny Meet Irony: Saudi Arabia Elected To United Nation’s Women’s Rights Commission, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, April 24, 2017

(Please see also, United Nations Elects Saudi Arabia to Women’s Rights Commission. — DM)

If you like your misogyny with a heavy serving of irony, you could do no better than the United Nations this week after Saudi Arabia was elected to a  2018-2022 term on the Commission on the Status of Women, the U.N. agency that, according to its website, is “exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.”  As with Iran being put on the Commission, the irony would be humorous if there were not millions of victims over decades of abuse by these countries.  Previously, Saudi Arabia taking over the top spot on the Human Rights Commission was viewed as unbelievable, but the entry on the Commission on the Status of Women sets a level of irony that may be unsurpassable.

Notably, various groups demanded to know what countries voted for the inclusion.  Only 7 of 54 ECOSOC states opposed the inclusion and many want the EU countries to reveal their votes. It is absurd that such votes should be taken on secret ballots.

Now that Saudi Arabia is a protector of women’s rights, it may want to immediately call for an investigation of the country responsible for:

Barring women from being able to travel without the permission of men;

Flogging women for driving;

Jailing a man for protesting the treatment of women;

Arresting women for ripped jeans or “Western haircuts“;

Stoning a woman to death (while just giving her male love flogging) for sex outside of marriage;

Sentencing human right activists to death;

Persecuting lawyers who help rape victims; 

Flogging rape victims;

Permitting child bride arranged marriages;

Closing Women’z health clubs as UnIslamic;

Arresting women without head coverings;

Arresting even foreign women who sit next to unrelated men in public places;

Flogging women over use of bad language; 

Enforcing the right to beat wives; and

Barring women from a Women’s Rights Conference.

That is only a partial list for the new Saudi Commissioner and it does not even require going outside of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis at the UN Human Rights Council

December 23, 2016

The Saudis at the UN Human Rights Council, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, December 23, 2016

(Isn’t it time to give humanitarian Iran a seat? Perhaps instead of re-electing Saudi Arabia next time it should be Iran’s turn. Or perhaps North Korea’s. — DM)

While the medieval Saudi system of justice was flogging the gentle blogger Raif Badawi 50 out of the stipulated 1000 lashes, a delegation of UN bureaucrats landed in Jeddah to promote an international conference on religious freedom.

The Saudis use these international seats to advance their oppressive agenda, and to press the Western democracies to punish criticism of Islam.

Through the shameful trial of Geert Wilders, Dutch authorities sent a message of surrender to the Saudis and other rogue Islamic regimes that punish dissent.

Did the Dutch prosecute Wilders on behalf of the Saudis, who threatened to impose sanctions on the Netherlands?

The UN and the Western democracies are putting the defense of human rights and freedom in the hands of one the world’s worst violators of religious and intellectual freedom.

Sharia courts are already fully operating in the Netherlands. They know something about “human rights”: stoning, flogging and chopping off heads.

Who will rescue our right to speak?

 

“My husband has been languishing in a Saudi prison since June 17th, 2012. Our children live with me in the city of Sherbrooke, Québec in Canada. They have not seen their father for five years now… On January 9, 2015, Raif received the first 50 lashes… Will members of the United Nations Human Rights Council join the European Parliament and ask for Raif’s release?”

Unfortunately, the UN members did not respond to this appeal by Ensaf Haidar, the fearless wife of the most famous blogger of the Arab world, the gentle Raif Badawi, imprisoned and flogged by the Saudis for his secular ideas. A few days after Ensaf’s appeal, the United Nations welcomed Badawi’s executioners, the Saudis, at the UN Human Rights Council. The Saudi representative, Abdulaziz Alwasil, will be decisive on three major issues at the UN Palace of Nations in Geneva: women, religious freedom and the system of justice.

What a great achievement for Saudi Arabia: The country flogs poets and bloggers, and its sheikhs have no other concern than filling their sumptuous palaces with wives and concubines, and then stoning them to death if they become “adulterous“. Saudi Arabia is where a Shiite cleric was publicly beheaded and where a Christian cannot wear a tunic or a cross.

The British government supported the Saudi bid to be re-elected at the Human Rights Council (British Prime Minister Theresa May was urged in vain to oppose the Saudi election to the Geneva body). The Obama Administration did the same: Samantha Powers, the U.S. ambassador at the UN, called the Saudi bid at the UN a “procedural position“.

Hillel Neuer, the director of UN Watch, captured the difference between realpolitik and the betrayal of Western values when he said: “Making an alliance with Stalin to stop Hitler is one thing; it’s quite another to say Stalin is a champion of human rights”.

A few days after the Saudi bid at the UN Human Rights Council, the Kingdom and the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights held a two-day workshop in the Saudi capital to discuss the “evolution of the concept of human rights in the framework of international and regional human rights systems”. Evolution of the concept human rights? Ask Raif Badawi, he knows better than the UN bureaucrats.

959Raif Badawi and his children, before he was jailed.

The Saudis use these international seats to advance their oppressive agenda, and to press the Western democracies to punish criticism of Islam. The Saudis, in fact, considered curbing trade with the Netherlands over Geert Wilders, who has just been found guilty in a court in The Hague for “inciting discrimination and insulting a minority group”. By asking at a public rally if people wanted “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands, Wilders was publicly declaring his alarm over the exploding crime rate by Moroccan Muslims in the country.

Through this shameful trial, the Dutch authorities sent a message of surrender to the Saudis and other rogue Islamic regimes which punish dissent. Did the Dutch prosecute Wilders on behalf of the Saudis, who threatened to impose sanctions on the Netherlands? It was reported that the Council of Saudi Chambers received a letter from higher Saudi authorities urging it not to involve Dutch companies in local projects either directly or indirectly.

The Saudis, through the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), have been pivotal in advancing the non-binding U.N. Resolution 62/154, “Combating defamation of religions”, which extends protection to opinions and to ideas, and grants people immunity from being “offended”.

This is exactly what happened with Wilders: he was on trial for stating his opinion, that there should be “fewer Moroccans” in the Netherlands. Some people said they were offended by that. Oddly, however, no one appears to have been offended by much worse remarks, said by politicians from the “Left”:

  • “We also have sh*t Moroccans over here.” Rob Oudkerk, Dutch Labour Party (PvDA) politician.
  • “We must humiliate Moroccans.” Hans Spekman, PvDA politician.
  • “Moroccans have the ethnic monopoly on trouble-making.” Diederik Samsom, PvDA politician.

The United Nations and the Western democracies are putting the defense of human rights and freedom in the hands of one the world’s worst violators of religious and intellectual freedom. Middle East expert Paul Marshall blasted the “ongoing campaign by the Saudi-based Organization of the Islamic Conference which has given the anti-blasphemy movement weight and traction”.

While the medieval Saudi system of justice was flogging the gentle blogger Raif Badawi 50 out of 1000 lashes, a delegation of UN bureaucrats landed in Jeddah to promote an international conference on religious freedom. No, it is not a joke. Joachim Rücker, President of the UN Human Rights Council, was photographed smiling side by side with the Wahhabi Islamic guardians. The Obama Administration sent two envoys to the Saudi conference, the ambassador for religious freedom, David Saperstein, and Arsalan Suleman, an envoy at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Also attending was Heiner Bielefeldt, the UN special envoy for religious freedom, a noted scholar of Immanuel Kant (how did the Enlightenment collapse so far, so fast?).

Women, Christians, secular bloggers, Western “blasphemers”, brave Dutch MPs: be warned! The muttawayyin, the Saudi religious police patrolling the Kingdom’s streets to ensure respect for the Koran, are already in Europe’s streets. Just ask France’s satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo.

A few days after 12 people were butchered at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, as well as four Jews at a grocery store, Saudi officials were allowed to march in Paris along with the terrorists’ victims and world leaders. And the Saudis had just flogged a blogger for “blasphemy”. Will Geert Wilders be next? Sharia courts are already fully operating in the Netherlands. They know something about “human rights”: stoning, flogging and chopping off heads.

But who will rescue our right to speak?

Islamic State sex slaves auctioned off in UK/US ally Saudi Arabia

September 25, 2016

Islamic State sex slaves auctioned off in UK/US ally Saudi Arabia, Jihad Watch

It isn’t news that the Islamic State has long been abusing and trafficking sex slaves – especially Yazidi girls – but it has been now discovered that the sex slaves of IS are being “sold in horrifying auctions to UK ally Saudi Arabia.”

An eyewitness reported:

Dozens of women were being held in a large room, and it was not only Iraqis and Syrians trading women but also Saudis and Westerners, whose actual nationality was not clear.

Western women have also been reported to be among the victims in keeping with the Islamic State’s practice of enslaving kafir women:

The Islamic State’s human trafficking operation includes enslaving women who they consider to be ‘kafir’, non-Muslim people like Yazidis and Christians, before selling them for money.  The depraved thugs are also involved in the radicalisation of young women all over the world and try to tempt them to come to their caliphate with false promises of wealth, marriage and forgiveness of sin.

The misdeeds and human rights violations by Saudi Arabia are astonishing, but do not stop Britain and the Obama Administration from supporting this hardline Islamic state.

 Wealthy Saudis have been accused of sponsoring the terror group [IS] for years…..

The kingdom has also faced numerous accusations of human rights abuses, including torture, degrading punishments and savage executions [in Yemen].

Britain has been selling weapons to Saudi Arabia, despite concerns about the kingdom’s war crimes in Yemen, and it seemed “inevitable” that those war crimes involved UK weapons, “according to a report leaked earlier this month.”

Beyond providing weapons, Britain has stunned human rights groups by blocking efforts by the EU to establish an independent international inquiry into the alleged war crimes in Yemen.

Yemen has been so brutalized by Saudi Arabia that teams of Doctors Without Borders (DWB) have been forced to evacuate, leaving citizens without care.

In April a hospital run by DWB – which included a maternity ward — was bombed.  According to the New York Times:

American officials have publicly condemned the hospital bombing — and the bombing of a school two days earlier — but the Pentagon has given steady support to the coalition led by Saudi Arabia, with targeting intelligence and fuel for the Saudi planes involved in the air campaign.

So it isn’t just the UK that is supporting the cause of jihadists and their atrocious human rights abuses; so is the Obama Administration. Over $100 billion in arms sales to the kingdom have already been approved by the Obama administration.

Now, adding to all that this latest news about sex slaves captured by the Islamic State and “being sold at sickening auctions in Saudi Arabia,” how can the current leadership of these countries be trusted to protect their own citizens from jihadists and defeat the global scourge of jihad terror?

sex-slave

“ON SALE TO RAPISTS ISIS is trafficking dozens of sex slaves ‘to be sold in horrifying auctions to UK ally Saudi Arabia’”, by Sam Webb, UK Sun, September 20, 2016:

SEX slaves captured by ISIS terrorists are being sold at sickening auctions in Saudi Arabia – a key UK ally – Sun Online has been told.

The horrifying discovery was unveiled when a jihadi was killed in fighting at the town of Al-Shirqat, which was taken over by the terror group in 2014.

Members of the Iraqi Popular Mobilisation Units, a state-sponsored militia fighting to liberate the town, recovered his mobile phone and claimed to have found horrifying images of the sickening trade.

The Arab nation is part of the international coalition fighting Islamic State alongside the UK and US but wealthy Saudis have been accused of sponsoring the terror group for years.

Britain also sells weapons to Saudi Arabia, despite concerns the hardline Muslim nation is committing war crimes in Yemen  – and it “seems inevitable” they involve UK weapons according to a report leaked earlier this month.

The kingdom has also faced numerous accusations of human rights abuses, including torture, degrading punishments and savage executions.

A spokesman for the PMU told Sun Online: “Our investigation officer was appalled at the set of images involving what we believe to be an Iraqi Yazidi (an ethnic minority in the region) woman taken as sex slave.

“Images were of the auction in Saudi Arabia of the woman and sexually explicit materials of the fighter and the woman in a hotel.

“Location data was observed on the image file as enabled by default on many smart phones.

“Further images involved ISIS members in Iraqi areas occupied by ISIS including Mosul and Baiji which indicates this fighter has been with ISIS for a long period of time as Baiji was liberated by us months ago.”

The fighters are now desperately trying to track down the woman’s family and launch a rescue attempt.

“We are engaging with our Yazidi members to find the family of the woman, location and health status,” the spokesman added.

“We hope to liberate her and all Iraqi women taken as sexual slaves by ISIS within Iraq or outside of Iraq as their basic human rights are being denied.

“We cannot allow this, as the force dedicated to the defence of Iraqi citizens.”

Sadly, it is not the first time the accusation that ISIS sells rape victims to Saudi Arabians has emerged.

An 18-year-old Yazidi sex slave who escaped ISIS claims she was sold in an international auction.

The teenager, Jinan, was abducted from her village in Northern Iraq last year when ISIS troops stormed her village and took her prisoner before torturing and sexually abusing her and the other captives in the terror group’s stronghold of Mosul.

She said said dozens of women were being held in a large room, and it was not only Iraqis and Syrians trading women but also Saudis and Westerners, whose actual nationality was not clear.

Potential buyers, she wrote in her book ‘Daesh’s Slave’ would inspect the women “like livestock”….

Saudi women revolt: #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen

September 7, 2016

Saudi women revolt: #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen, Counter Jihad

(Lot of luck with that. — DM)

Female oppression and subjugation are integral elements of Islamic supremacism, exhibited by Saudi Arabia (among other Islamic states), which exports and funds Wahhabism globally. Saudi Arabia is now experiencing a kind of social media revolt by its women against its guardianship laws. Hurray for social media in allowing these women some dissenting expression; they are otherwise buried and gagged under the niqab.

“The hashtag, #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen, has taken the Twitter social networking world by storm, calling for an end to these oppressive laws” of male guardianship.

Females in Saudi Arabia are permanently under male guardians from birth. They can’t be educated, travel, marry, “or even have surgery” without male guardian approval. In fact, if a woman so much as leaves the house against the wishes of her male guardian, he can “go to the police and file a complaint that you are a fugitive and the police will come after you and take you home.”These are elements of Islamic law, but nowhere else are they so strictly enforced as in Saudi Arabia.

Western leftist feminists who turn a blind eye to the tortures of the sisterhood by Islamic supremacists and jihadists, meanwhile, are perhaps too busy with the chorus of celebratory jeering over the death of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly (who spoke out boldly against Muslim immigration in Europe and the erosion of democratic principles) to take note of this new development about women in Saudi Arabia.

stopenslavingsaudiwomen

“Calls to end Saudi male guardianship sweeping social media”, by Katie Beiter, The JPost , September 7, 2016:

Reem, a 37-year-old Saudi nurse, who asked that her last name be withheld, recalled when her family arranged her marriage. After graduating from nursing school, she worked for 10 years until her cousin approached her father asking for her hand in marriage.

“All of a sudden my father said to me, this is my nephew and you will marry him,” Reem said. “We were complete opposites in character and I didn’t like him, he wasn’t handsome. So, I refused, I cried, I did everything a Saudi girl can do, but sadly, they forced me.”

“It broke my soul,” she added. After a year of being engaged, Reem broke it off. Her parents then forced her to marry a man, who, according to Reem, was a drug addict; so she divorced him.

“Now, I am divorced with one son. I am a nurse, but I stay with my family. I have a good salary, but they refuse to let me live independently. I am 37 years old and I still live with my parents,” Reem said.

Stories like these are not uncommon in Saudi Arabia, a conservative, Muslim country, where male guardianship laws still reign. These laws require Saudi women, regardless of age, to have a male guardian, usually a husband or a father, who makes all legal decisions for them.

The hashtag, #StopEnslavingSaudiWomen, has taken the Twitter social networking world by storm, calling for an end to these oppressive laws.

“Basically, from when they are born to when they die, Saudi women require male guardians, who are given legal control over their lives,” Kristine Beckerle, a Human Rights Watch researcher recently reported. According to Beckerle, the New York-based human rights organization “has concluded that male guardianship is the most significant impediment to women’s rights in Saudi Arabia today.”

Saudi women are not allowed to travel, marry, study, or even have surgery without permission from their guardians. “If you go out against your guardian’s will, he can go to the police and file a complaint that you are a fugitive and the police will come after you and take you home,” Reem added.

There is a Twitter hashtag in Arabic (#سعوديات_نطالب_باسقاط_الولاية51), which updates the number of days the hashtag has been circulating. It has reached 51.

“It’s a unified effort by Saudi Women in attempt to voice their struggle in the only legal way that they can in Saudi Arabia,” Isaac Cohen, Director of the S.A.F.E. Movement, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping Saudi women fight male guardianship, told The Media Line.

Women have chosen the social media platform to raise awareness because protest rallies are illegal and can even carry prison sentences in Saudi Arabia. In the past, Saudi women have feared publicizing their beliefs; however, women have now become more willing to take a stand in the anti-guardianship campaign, according to Beckerle.

These women have gone so far as to record videos of themselves to post on social media, articulating the horrors of the repressive laws. Aside from the hashtags, there have been many other instances of solidarity amongst Saudi women.

Some of which include the distribution of “I am my own guardian” bracelets and stickers; a petition to the king, which gathered over 3,000 signatures in 24 hours; and a wall in Riyadh with the hashtag written in graffiti.

“I am flabbergasted. The media is not free and Saudi women themselves face many levels of difficulty. To see women take up the call and demand their rights has been incredible,” Beckerle said.

There have been movements in the past to change laws in Saudi Arabia. In October 2013, there was a campaign to allow women the right to drive; however, that was unsuccessful.

However, activists hope that this campaign may be different. Because the guardianship laws affect a number of different aspects of women’s lives, Beckerle believes that this gives the government room to initiate changes….

Taken To Saudi Arabia And Locked in a Cage

July 28, 2016

Taken To Saudi Arabia And Locked in a Cage, Clarion Project, July 28, 2016

saudi cageIllustrative picture. (Photo: © Reuters)

[A] judge in the High Court, Justice Holman, has asserted, “We have to be careful about asserting the supremacy our cultural standards.”

Saudi Arabia does not recognize al-Jeffrey’s British citizenship. They are also paying for her father’s legal fees.

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Amina al-Jeffrey was born in Swansea, UK, and taken at age 16 to Saudi Arabia by her father, who disapproved of her Western lifestyle.

Now 21, she is fighting a court battle in the High Court in London against her father to be allowed to return to the UK.

She alleges that her father, Mohammed al-Jeffrey, put “metal bars” on her bedroom and described being a “locked-up girl with a shaved head.”

Still a judge in the High Court, Justice Holman, has asserted, “We have to be careful about asserting the supremacy our cultural standards.”

Holman also said that it is unclear whether or not Britain had jurisdiction in the matter since al-Jeffrey was an adult with dual Saudi and UK citizenship.

Al-Jeffrey said her father hit her, deprived her of water and forced her to urinate in a cup.

Although “metal bars are no longer in her room” according to her lawyers, “she is still locked up in the house” and “not allowed to use the phone or internet.”

“Steps need to be taken to ensure Ms. Jeffery is returned to the UK where her safety can be guaranteed,” the Foreign Office Forced Marriage Unit said in a statement.

“Her treatment has extended to depriving her of food and water, depriving her of toilet facilities, physical assault and control of her ability to marry who she wishes and creating a situation in which she feels compelled to marry as a means of escape,” Henry Setright, a lawyer acting on behalf of al-Jeffrey said in a statement.

He described the situation as a “fundamental breach of human rights.”

Saudi Arabia does not recognize al-Jeffrey’s British citizenship. They are also paying for her father’s legal fees.

“Regarding returning Amina back to the UK, I am unwilling to do this as I fear she will go back to her old destructive lifestyle,” her father said in a letter submitted to the court.

“As her father, I fear for her health and safety and only want what is best for Amina, so she may focus on her education.”

“She is a normal Welsh girl and still has her Welsh accent,” said Anne-Marie Hutchinson, from the Academy of Family Lawyers who is representing al-Jeffrey.

“She wants to return home so she can have control of her own life and make her own choices.”

Op-Ed: Italy’s universities bow to Islam and boycott Israel

April 24, 2016

Op-Ed: Italy’s universities bow to Islam and boycott Israel, Israel National News, Giulio Meotti, April 24, 2016

An Italian academic appeal to boycott Israeli universities succeeded in obtaining 336 signatures. Of these teachers and researchers, a tenth come from the University of Bologna. But in this oldest university in Europe, no one has shown enough concern to raise a moral issue about the big deal that the Alma Mater Studiorum of Bologna has just signed with Saudi Arabia.

Not only that, but some of the protagonists of this academic pact appear in the appeal against the Israeli teachers. It should have been enough to read the report of Freedom House on Saudi universities to figure that maybe needed a little extra caution was in order because at stake is not oil, but our culture: “Academic freedom is limited, informers monitor classrooms for compliance with regulations, such as the prohibition of teaching secular philosophy and religions other than Islam.”

The pact with the Saudis, which will last five years, was launched by the former rector Ivano Dionigi and enshrined under the new one, Francesco Ubertini, both silent on their colleagues who ostracized the Jewish State. In the pact with Riad, we read about “promoting dialogue,” publishing Islamic texts, investing in literature, philology and music, through conferences and seminars, as well as the exchange of professors and students.

Perhaps the Bolognese teachers would have the opportunity to browse through the books used in Saudi schools, where the Jews are called “monkeys” and Christians “pigs”. In the agreement there is also archeology under the care of Nicolo Marchetti, a leading expert on the subject at the University of Bologna: bizarre, since from the time of Muhammad in Mecca only a few buildings remain standing. The others have all been razed to the ground in the name of the war against “idolatry” – to be taken over by luxury hotels or gas pumps. As with the grave of Aminah, the mother of Mohammed, or the house of Abu Bakr, the friend of the Prophet. These Islamists would do the same with the tomb of Dante Alighieri in Ravenna, guilty of having put Muhammad in Hell.

It is not the first exchange agreement with the Saudis. In 2014, the rector of Bologna flew to Riyadh to attend an educational seminar in the presence of Khalid bin al Angari, Minister for Saudi Education. On October 10, 2015, the then rector, along with the Saudi ambassador to Italy, participated in a conference entitled “Tolerance in Islam and coexistence between religions”. Did he know that in Saudi Arabia you can not wear a robe showing the cross, nor open a church and that Christians are persecuted?

Among the supporters of the agreement with the Saudis there is Giulio Soravia, director of the Center of Islamic Sciences at Bologna’s University. The name of Soravia, who in 2011 was sent by the rector to attend a conference in Saudi Arabia, also appears in the academic document against Israel.

While the university was signing this shameful pact with Riyadh, the Saudi Grand Mufti stated that “women who drive are prey of the devil”. What do the feminists from University of Bologna think of that? In addition to submitting to one of the most obscurantist regimes in the world, these professors could prove a bit of solidarity with the only democracy in the Middle East, Israel.

Meanwhile, in Riyadh, an intellectual named Raif Badawi is waiting in prison for the next cycle of lashes, guilty of “insults to Islam” and of being a “liberal”. Much more a liberal than these Italian professors with their double standards and morality.