Saudi Arabia hosts UN-backed human rights summit ‘on combating religious discrimination’

Jun 9, 2015

by Adam Withnall

Saudi Arabia has hosted an international conference on human rights, attended by the president of the UN Human Rights Council, and resolved to combat intolerance and violence based on religious belief.

The kingdom convened the fifth annual meeting of the Istanbul Process as its Supreme Court prepared to rule on the case of blogger Raif Badawi, sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam through religious channels”. It later upheld the sentence.

The UN HRC recently faced criticism over Saudi plans to head up the council from 2016, in what critics said would be the “final nail in the coffin” for the international body.

And the Geneva-based human rights campaign group UN Watch accused HRC president Joachim Rücker of giving “false international legitimacy” to the two-day conference on religious freedoms held in Jeddah on 3 and 4 June.

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45 comments on “Saudi Arabia hosts UN-backed human rights summit ‘on combating religious discrimination’

  • Agrajag
    Jun 9, 2015 at 1:03 pm

    Can anyone point me to a good shop to repair my irony meter? The needle is badly bent.

    It was probably bent when hit by the dial flying off as the whole thing exploded!

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  • 3
    Miserablegit says:

    The UN, too far up its own arse to realise that giving the saudi’s the right to host this conference, humiliates not only the saudi’s victims but any credibility the UN has.

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  • EmptyDee
    Jun 9, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    I’m really confused. The address bar says, but the article is from – surely?

    The link at the bottom of the page goes to THE INDEPENDENT.

    Where the article continues with:-

    According to a report in the Saudi Gazette, the participants in the conference “began with an agreement to put [HRC] resolution 16/18 into effect” – a pledge by all member states to combat “intolerance and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief”.

    Somebody taking these decisions must be either reading words wearing rosy “faith-interpretation blinkers”, or be stark raving bonkers!

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  • 9
    voiceofarabi says:

    Just so everyone on this website understands Saudi a little better….

    It is governed by two main powers. Royal Family (Al Saud family) and the religious clerics (holy men – intermarried to the Royal Family)…. The Holy men tend to brain wash the masses with whatever they wish as long as they keep everyone subservient.

    So, here are some “Fatwas” that the religious men came up with recently..

    o – Saudi cleric rejects that Earth revolves around the Sun

    o- Mickey Mouse must die, says Saudi Arabian cleric

    o- Saudi Wahhabi Sheikh Calls on Iraq’s Jihadists to Kill Shiites

    Read more:

    o- Saudi Wahhabi Preacher Issues Fatwa Allowing Jihadis to Rape Syrian Women

    Just go to google and search for Saudi Fatwas, and you will be amazed…

    So, my question is… Does anyone take the UN or any Saudi Ally seriously…. (I am looking at you USA, UK, France, Germany and the West in general.

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  • voiceofarabi
    Jun 9, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    So, my question is… Does anyone take the UN or any Saudi Ally seriously…. (I am looking at you USA, UK, France, Germany and the West in general.

    But how will they champion human rights and peace in the Middle East , now that Tony Blair has resigned as “Peace Envoy”?
    Will they co-opt George Bush for the role???
    Tony Blair is to step down next month as special representative of the Quartet of international powers seeking a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, after making little headway for nearly eight years and amid near-constant controversy about his role.

    Officials in Jerusalem said the former British prime minister had written to the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, to confirm his resignation.

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  • Neodarwinian
    Jun 9, 2015 at 6:21 pm

    Must be tough to run a large country when one is so disconnected from reality!

    I think they smooth out the rough edges of corruption and delusion, using oil as a lubricant!

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  • Anyone got a good explanation of the difference between Shiite and Sunni? They’re all Muslims, right? But they seem to hate each other as much as they hate the rest of us.

    One suggestion I heard was that Shia acknowledge Free Will (like Christians), and therefore Personal Responsibility, while Sunni are all inch-alla, it is written, predestination, and therefore not a shred of personal responsibility, if some immam tells me allah has predestined me to blow myself up somewhere harmful to others, then its not my fault, and I’m bound to go along with it.

    Or is this an over-generalisation? I do think we outside the muslim world know far too little about the conflicts within it. Certainly Saudi appears to be on the side of the devils. I reckon the west has been paying far far too much for the oil. Money they could have, but the power to behave like they do, no, that’s a price far too high. And, since they have the wealth, we sell them weapons. Remind me who’s being stupid here?

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  • This sounds like a joke. However, I suppose this is one of the countries that needs religious tolerance most.
    The delegates will be looking over their shoulders fearing they said something offensive.

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  • 22
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi OHooligan,

    I was lucky enough to have experienced both sides (Sunni and Shiite), and I will try to help clear the matter in as little words as possible 🙂 .

    First… Both Sunni and Shiite are almost identical fundamentally (more than 95%), and they only differ on the none essential stuff (surface stuff that doesn’t really count), for example, one prey with arms down by their side, and the other preys with arms linked together as sign of respect) There are many difference like this, but they are all none essential, however, leaders from both sects using them to gain power over their people. The rest of the madness is all the same, for example it is gods will, stone people to death, etc etc. (Shiite leaders have chosen to be more tolerant of other religions…)

    They really separated from each other in the seventh century (first Islamic century), when the Umayyad Dynasty decided to turn Islam from tribe democracy (the Islamic leader gets chosen by all tribes elders) into an inherited royal family that stayed with the Umayyed family. Some of the Muslim decided that if it is going to be an inherited (hereditary system) rule, then the Prophets family should be more qualified, and lots of people wanted the Prophets Son in Law and his family to inherit the kingdom.

    In a nutshell… this is roughly the story… off course, today, both sides are trying to drive a wedge between each other to ensure they continue to be powerful over their people.

    You will see a difference today between Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslim, but only because of the leaders. Sunni leaders have failed their people (Saudi, Egypt, etc etc) and as result the people became negative and not proud. Shiite leaders won some battles (Iran, Hezbollah, etc) which resulted in Shiite being more proud and self assured. (speaking generally….)

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  • Thank you voiceofarabi.

    It is hard to understand. Why is the belief so passionately held, that it can result in wars and killings on both sides. This is what I don’t understand. Although when I think about it, Catholics V Protestants from the late 1500’s onwards was pretty similar. Although the C versus P wars stopped being an issue around 1900. So I guess 400 years of Catholics and Protestants chopping each other to bits is similar.

    The Shia / Sunni split appears to date back to around 640 modern era, so it seems a long time to hold a grudge, strong enough to kill. Still don’t understand it. Then again, the Serbs and Croats have been at each others throats for 1000 years. Maybe I just don’t understand humanity. But then, I wouldn’t be an orphan there.

    I just wish that all of these long running feuds would end. Seems a bit uncivilized to me. Religion, righteous and peaceful one day, committing genocide the next. If god is up there watching, I reckon he’s pretty embarrassed to have followers like these.

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  • I think Saudi getting involved is a good sign. On rights they may seem a joke, but hold on — their involvement, and attempt at leadership, shows they are worried.
    Religions of whatever type are power-bases. It is a means for one group to hold power over another. God in all this is the ‘ultimate weapon’ — a religious leader uses the God concept to frighten ignorant followers into doing what the leader wants by convincing them that if they do not do what he says they will suffer for ever in ‘hell’ but if they do what God wants — which is what he is claiming he is telling them to do — they will be forever rewarded.
    When one of these power bases starts to try to get other power bases to agree on ‘rights’ to hold power (essentially I will let you abuse yours if you let me abuse mine) it is a sign that they feel threatened. Good! Ignore the noise and keep promoting the destruction of the concept — introduce a friend or three to the wonders of the real world free of the distorting daftness of Gods.

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  • “intolerance and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or *belief”.
    [or lack thereof]

    A flawless description of Saudi Arabia….
    I despair- the world has become a lunatic asylum. Run by the U.N. Insh’allah.

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  • Kay
    Jun 10, 2015 at 3:58 am

    I think Saudi getting involved is a good sign. On rights they may seem a joke, but hold on — their involvement, and attempt at leadership, shows they are worried.

    Their involvement is more likely to be to undermine progress, with any “worries” being about the effects of foreign criticism could have on their oil interests.

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  • 28
    aroundtown says:

    This from an nation that will cut head off in an instant, and refuse to let a woman drive in that country in the 21st century. Thanks for absolutely nothing from this inept United Nations body, you are a consistent disgrace as concerns anything of importance these days. What might we expect next from you beauties?

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  • Hmmm… a cleverly calculated move in my opinion. It gives them some UN recognition of their desire to protect different religious faiths when they’re trying to keep their shia citizens calm and their sunni citizens from joining ISIS. It may also buy them a bit of cover on their other human rights abuses by letting them scream islamaphobia and using this to point out how tolerant Saudi Arabia is being.

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  • Narcissistic_Martyr
    Jun 10, 2015 at 7:30 am

    It gives them some UN recognition of their desire to protect different religious faiths when they’re trying to keep their shia citizens calm and their sunni citizens from joining ISIS.

    I have severe doubts about any desire to keep people from joining ISIS!
    Clearly, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria also known as ISIS or ISIL, are the benefactors of vast state-sponsorship and yet the West has not identified nor condemned these sponsors, let alone move toward leveling sanctions similar to what it is seeking to impose upon Moscow.

    News articles by prominent British and American news outlets like the Daily Beast’s “America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS,”

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  • 33
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi David R Allen,

    Ok, the main reason Shiite and Sunni are at each others throat is the following….

    Wahhabi Islam is not tolerant of any other religion, and especially not tolerant of any branch of Islam that is not Wahhabi, Sunni or otherwise… in fact, other religions will be offered to pay tax or convert, but other sects of Islam that is not Wahhabi will be killed without asking any question.

    So, in Summery, Wahhabi Islam, which is Saudi Arabia flavour of Islam, and Muslim Brotherhood, which is the dominant “Sunni Islam” due to the petrodollar and not size of followers is threatening to kill other sects, and other sects respond to that in a similar fashion (an eye of an eye..).

    This all started 800 years ago, with a muslim scholar called ibn Tayymia, who is the father of Wahhabis… (allegedly he was a short one eyed psycho (I am not making this up.. 🙂 )

    BTW.. Shiite Muslim are only just over 10% of total Muslim population. The Majority are Sunni Muslims, which are divided again into many Sunni flavours

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  • So where will the UN hold a conference on the world human population explosion, abortion, contraception, and family planning?

    Vatican City???

    .. and of course for the next IPCC round of UN talks on mitigating global warming and renewable energy:-

    Paris?? Nah!! – Back to Saudi????

    .. And of course the conferences would need to open with a prayer!

    Our holy God who art in the ground. Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come into air and sea. Give us today our daily oil. Lead us not into the temptation of seeking the truth. Deliver us from alternative energy sources. Protect the flow of petrodollars to Aramco, ExxonMobil, Chevron, Gazprom, Sinopec, BP, Shell, the Koch brothers and petro-tyrants everywhere. Keep the women down and the environmentalists away. Inspire the petro-lobby and their think-tanks. Give them strength and continue the flow of petrodollars needed to mislead, focus on marginal issues and confuse for more years to come. For thine is the glory of the multibillionaires; the power of greed, destruction of life, drilling, piping and fracking everywhere forever and ever.

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  • It’s good that Saudi Arabia will join a programme to combat religious discrimination on the part of organizations like ISIS in whose territories the non-Muslims are being ruthlessly and brutally persecuted and murdered. Some years ago two Buddhist monuments in Afghanistan were destroyed by the Taliban; I never heard any complain from Saudi Arabia which for centuries their religious authorities have been destroying ancient pre-Islamic monuments. I expect that after the UN-backed summit Saudi Arabia will be a bit more civilized.

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  • Olalrich.

    like ISIS in whose territories the non-Muslims are being ruthlessly and brutally persecuted and murdered.

    Actually, there is a large majority of fellow moslems. It just seems there only crime is they barrack for the wrong team. Uncivilized stone age barbarism.

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  • Voiceofarabi, thank you.

    So the whole “it is written” vs “free will” thing is misinformation, there’s no such deeply ingrained cultural difference, only turf wars squabbling. In short, Power, and how it corrupts. It appears the Wahhabi extreme, the ideology of ISIS, is one that is hurtling towards self destruction, like a deadly plague, which will die out once it’s killed all its hosts. Unless some fool keeps samples in a jar for Research Purposes….

    On the plague analogy, is quarantine the only viable treatment?

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  • Thank you for that voiceofarabi. Most informative.

    I wonder how successive US administrations over the years have cuddled up to Saudi Arabia, knowing that are the source of a dangerous strain of religious extremism. I wonder how they rationalize it. One of the rules of nature appears to be, all morality and ethics can be suspended if a dollar is involved.

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    Presently, the achievements of scientific insight are resurrecting beyond the process of Nature, and the graces of spirituality are descending to a dangerous abyss.

    In fact, the definitions of all the leading world religions are based on their contemporary needs, to help human being to evolve under Natural process on basis of peace and solidarity, not to obtain the narcissus and terrestrial bliss among the rot of massacre.

    Our money and gun power are not potential enough to combat the thoughts of terrorism that conceals their sins behind religious narcissism that enthralled in mazes of terrestrial and political issues.

    To prevent the rise of terrorism, we’ll have to clarify the roots of faith and the facts of the materialism disgracing all believers and atheist alike. Till now, we are destroying the embodiment of terrorism, ignoring its brutal ideology still invincible before the entire world.

    It had been always lethal to write or address in favor or against the institutionalized faith of human being divided by several religious and political strictures. For a “unanimous conclusion” to tackle the clashes between religion and state, theism and atheism, PLEASE SIGN AND PROMOTE THIS PETITION to prevent the further rise of hate religious campaigns and rescue humanity from the shadow of Nuclear weapons.

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  • Whatever minor theological differences may have arisen in the meantime, I understood that the split dated back to an assassination of one of Mo’s heirs. Can’t remember who killed who, or which one’s which, but one side are the “usurpers” -followers of the assassin – and the other side are the “loyalists” – followers of the assassinated. Family politics, since all the leadership candidates were related to each other back then, sort of a Hatfield and McCoys situation that just kind of escalated.

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  • Many liberals strongly believe that we all should respect other customs. Now isn’t that magnanimous!! So the Saudis plan to head the council on human rights!? That would be as logical as suggesting that Adolph Hitler should have been the first to head such a council.

    Look around the world. There is war and terror in many placed. Muslims fight and kill Hindus, Muslims fight and kill Jews, Muslims “circumcise” young girls, Muslims fight and kill Christians, and Muslims fight and kill other Muslims.

    The US should stay completely out of the mideast and let Muslims kill each other. Both sides (Sunnis and Shiites) hate each other as well as the US. Just think. Those that died would all go to heaven and have 27 “virgin” wives (or if female, maybe 47 virgin male husbands!). The beauty of it all staggers me.

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  • An obvious topic is the right to freedom of religion!

    Don’t hold your breath waiting for tolerance from “the religion of peace”!

    An Islamic court has sentenced nine people to death for insulting the Prophet Muhammad in the northern Nigerian city of Kano.

    The accused, who were all Muslims, had pleaded guilty, the head of Kano’s religious police, Aminu Ibrahim Daurawa, told the BBC.

    The trial was speedily done in secret after a section of the court was burnt down by angry protesters last month.

    It is not known if they will appeal against the sentence.

    The alleged offence was committed last month at a religious gathering in honour of Sheikh Ibrahim Niasse, the Senegalese founder of the Tijaniya sect, which has a large following across West Africa.

    The nine, eight man and a woman, were reported to have said that “Niasse was bigger than Prophet Muhammad”, triggering unrest.

    The venue was burnt to the ground by an angry mob and the nine were arrested,

    “There has been consensus among Muslims scholars that insulting the prophet carries a death sentence,” Mr Daurawa told the BBC Hausa service.

    “We quickly put them on trial to avoid bloodshed because people were very angry and trying to take law into their hands,” he added.

    Kano has a predominately Muslim population and Islamic courts operate alongside secular courts.

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