…no, wait–it’s Saudi Arabia to lead UN talks on religious tolerance, as reports the International Herald tribune:
Saudi Arabia, which deploys a special police force to ensure that only one narrow sect of Islam predominates in the kingdom, is sponsoring a discussion at the United Nations on religious tolerance starting Wednesday.
More than a dozen world leaders are expected to attend, including President George W. Bush, Prime Minister Gordon Brown of Britain and the Saudi monarch, King Abdullah, making a rare appearance at the UN headquarters.
Officially, the United Nations does not sponsor religious discussions, so the two-day session of the General Assembly is being billed as a meeting on the „Culture of Peace,“ and most of those attending are government rather than religious figures.
But human rights defenders are crying foul that Saudi Arabia is being given the platform of the United Nations to promote religious tolerance abroad while it actively combats anything similar at home.
„It’s like apartheid South Africa having a conference at the UN on racial harmony,“ said Ali Al-Ahmed, a Shiite Muslim dissident from Saudi Arabia based in Washington.
- related links:
- website of the Saudi Arabian Human Rights Commision
- UN special rapporteur Pat Condell on a country where men are men, and women are cattle
- h/t anorak.co.uk