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Conference

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Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR

Invites you to a timely conference:

Religious Freedom and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia:

Policy Recommendations for the Administration

Tuesday, May 23

11AM-2PM, lunch is provided

Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2226

Sponsor: The International

Religious Freedom Caucus

This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

This timely conference will come at the time of President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia. There the President and his religiously diverse entourage will not find a religious sanctuary to worship, should they choose. Only Islam can be practiced publicly in Saudi Arabia.

It’s not accidental that President Trump chose to go to Saudi Arabia first. Two of his campaign major talking points are defeating “Islamic terrorism” and strengthening the US Economy, “America first.” Saudi Arabia is a country where the two overlap.

The country has been labeled a “fountainhead” of extremism and terrorism. At the same time, the Saudi rulers spend billions of dollars to procure large quantities of US military hardware. This has occurred during all US Administrations. Heretofore none has been able to reconcile the cross purposes in this complex relationship

With the cooperation of Congressman Trent Franks’ office, the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia is assembling a group of Saudi natives, members of Congress and other experts to address religious freedom, human rights, empowerment of women and US/Saudi relations.

Speakers

11 AM –Welcoming and opening remarks by Congressman Franks of Arizona, Co-Chair of the Congressional Caucus on International Religious Freedom. Other members of Congress are invited, their names will be add once confirmed.

11:30, introductions and general comments by Ali Alyami, founder and director of the Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia. Alyami is a Saudi native, human rights advocate and promoter of transformative political, religious, social and economic changes in Saudi Arabia.

Ghada Alkhars, Saudi native, advocate of social justice, women’s rights and freedom of choice.

“Empowering Saudi Women, The Key to Defeat Extremism in Saudi Arabia”

Jack Pearce, former White House and Justice Department official

“How will religious freedom and economic development be linked in Saudi Arabia?”

Philippe Nassif, Executive Director, In Defense of Christians in the Middle East

“Protecting Christianity and religious minorities in the Middle East: A National Security Strategy”

Clare Lopez, Vice President for Research and Analysis, Center for Security Policy

“Leveraging the U.S.-Saudi Relationship to Rein In Saudi Dawa & Improve Saudi Lives”

The Center for Democracy and Human Rights is an educational, independent non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization established to research, write and disseminate accurate information about the Saudi monarchy, its dogma and its domestic and foreign policies and their implications for Saudi Arabia and the international community at large.  Please join us. This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR

1050 17 St. NW Suite 1000

Washington, DC 20036

Tel: (202) 558-5552; (202) 413-0084; Fax: (202) 536-5210

www.cdhr.info

 

Yemen Could be Trump’s Vietnam

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Yemen Could be Trump’s Vietnam

CDHR Commentary: It’s being reported that the Trump administration is considering “deeper involvement in the devastating Yemen war.” This would be an ill-advised move. Getting entangled in Yemen would be disastrous, as the Saudi-led coalition has discovered. Given its political, economic, historical and geographic landscape, Yemen could become the US's second Vietnam. President Trump's military and strategic advisors ought to know this fact and spare America the anguish of another costly, prolonged and needless military calamity in the Middle East.

The Saudi-led coalition of six of the richest and most powerful Arab countries have been bombarding, blockading and starving the 26 million Yemenis for 2 years and the result has been described as “catastrophic” in human and material terms. By all accounts, the only beneficiary of the costly invasion of Yemen is America’s sworn enemy Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. The terrorist group has not only captured substantial swaths of territory close to the strategic strait of Bab-Al-Mandeb, but attracted large numbers of angry and disillusioned Yemeni recruits.

It’s no secret that the Saudis have “exhorted the Americans to” ‘cut off the head of the snake,’ the Persian theocrats, who are competing with the Saudi oligarchy for strategic supremacy in the Muslim World. Having failed to beat the mostly bare-footed and machete-brandishing Yemeni rebels into submission, the Saudis are trying to tempt the Trump Administration into doing what its predecessors (going back to JFK’s Administration) rejected, getting involved in the costly, ruinous and unwinnable internal conflicts in Yemen.  US generals, historians and strategists should have known that, like the Vietnamese, the Yemenis are nationalists, have very little to lose and have defeated both Muslim and non-Muslim invaders who have attempted to conquer them.

The Saudi monarchy’s invasion of Yemen in March 2015 is neither accidental nor merely in reaction to Iran’s “meddling” in Saudi affairs, as the Saudis and their lucratively paid lobbyists claim. If anything, the Iranian theocrats are seen as defenders of the oppressed Yemeni Zaidis, an offshoot of Shi’a Islam, the followers of Prophet Mohammed’s cousin and son-in-law, Ali.

The Saudi rulers have had strategic and economic interests, especially in southern Yemen, for decades. Most of the Gulf region’s oil exports (including Iranian’s), passes through the strategic strait of Bab Al-Mandeb (the narrowest segment of the Red Sea), whose security and political influence rest with whomever controls south western Yemen (Aden), the former British protectorate.

The all-out Saudi invasion of Yemen did not come as a surprise to those who know the Saudis’ historical view of and designs on Yemen.  Since the Saudi/Yemeni war of 1934 (detailed here), consecutive Saudi monarchs have considered Yemen their backyard geographically and strategically. Geographically, Saudi Arabia and Yemen share more than 1,000 miles of forbidding desert and mountainous borders. Strategically, the Saudis have considered South Yemen (Aden) to be vital real estate because of its location.

The Saudis know that controlling Aden and its strategic surroundings will be a powerful bargaining chip they can use regionally and globally. Thus, it is safe to assume that focusing on the recapturing of Aden and  designating it a provisional governing region is a top political and strategic priority for the Saudis. They want to prove that they are not only an indispensable strategic actor, but a power to be reckoned with.

The Saudis know a good opportunity when they see one. They know that given the raging subverting revolutions against repressive regimes in the Arab World, it’s unlikely that the US and its democratic western allies will seriously object to the intent of the Saudi regime’s military adventures and current belligerent regional policies. To maintain economic stability in their countries and globally, western powers want stability in the Middle East at any price. They know that they can always count on the Saudis and other wealthy ruling dynasties to do what is asked of them in exchange for continuing protection not only from foreign threats, but from each other.

Colonizing Aden directly or via a government of their choice is believed to be the Saudis’ ultimate objective. This is how some experts in Saudis tactics interpreted the Saudis’ delayed invasion of Yemen until the insurgents, the Houthis, reached and occupied Aden. By establishing a stranglehold on the strategic Southern Yemeni region, the Saudis know that they will gain considerable leverage, including continued US protection for decades to come.

Instead of getting drawn into an unwinnable and costly war in Yemen, the Trump Administration can best serve the US interest by refraining from military adventure in the Yemeni civil war, which does not pose quantifiable threat to US national security. The Saudis’ declared reason for invading Yemen is to prevent Iran from turning it into a Hezbollah-like proxy. If this is indeed the Saudis’ and their wealthy Gulf allies’ overriding reason for invading Yemen, they could have averted any possibility of the Yemenis becoming an Iranian colony decades ago.

This analyst (born and raised on the Saudi Yemeni borders) wrote an unsolicited economic development proposal for Yemen and handed it to top Saudi officials in 1996. The proposal simply stated that Yemen was, and is, a ticking bomb that would explode unless the Saudi regime invested substantially in modernizing Yemen’s infrastructure in a manner that would provide jobs, improve people’s lives and give the Yemenis hope for a better future. That did not happen then, but it’s not too late for the threatened wealthy Gulf dynasties to invest $100 billion (Yemen Mohammed Plan) not only to repair the unjustified damage they have inflicted on the poverty stricken Yemenis, but to modernize the dilapidated Yemeni infrastructure, including building hospitals, roads, irrigation systems, trade and non-sectarian educational institutions. This will ensure the Yemenis’ independence, pride in themselves and create good will toward their Muslim brethren, especially the Saudis, with whom they share long boarders and historical kinship.

The Trump Administration ought to focus on encouraging the Saudi regime to pursue a peaceful solution to the Yemeni civil war. Selling the Saudis more sophisticate military hardware and sending American advisors to train the Saudi soldiers will only prolong the war and potentially draw regional and global powers into the fray.

https://www.crisisgroup.org/middle-east-north-africa/gulf-and-arabian-peninsula/yemen/174-yemen-s-al-qaeda-expanding-base

Last Updated on Monday, 01 May 2017 17:16
 

Saudi/US in Trumps Era,

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Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia, CDHR, Washington DC

April 11, 2017

Saudi/US in Trumps Era, Women’s gains, religious or men of darkness, mass executions

CDHR’s Analysis and Commentaries

Trump and US-Saudi Relations: Projections and Proposals

By Ali H. Alyami, director

CDHR Analysis: The Center for Democracy and Human Rights in Saudi Arabia (CDHR) has received numerous inquiries asking for predictions about what US/Saudi relations will look like under the Trump Administration. While it is difficult to predict what President Trump and his senior team might do, especially in the face of the constantly changing landscape in the Middle East, there are pronouncements of parallel interests and objectives suggesting that US/Saudi relations are likely to follow historical tendencies despite President Trump’s characterization of the Saudis not only as “…the world's biggest funder of terrorism, but who use “our petro dollars to fund the terrorists that seek to destroy our people while the Saudis rely on us to protect them.” Interestingly, President Trump’s characterization echoes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement about the Saudis.

However, based on historical facts, the Saudi royals know that occasional criticism by US officials are not reflective of US policy toward them since FDR declared in 1943 that “the security of Saudi Arabia is a ‘vital interest’ of the United States.” FDR’s statement was formalized in 1945 with the signing of a pact establishing the foundation of US/Saudi relations: US access to Saudi oil in exchange for US protection of the Saudi monarchy and its kingdom. This beneficial arrangement survived many critical regional political and strategic developments that have threatened the survival of the Saudi monarchy and its close ties with the US.

Prominent among these developments are intra-Arab conflicts, rise of competitive regional powers and threats from Saudi/Wahhabi-inspired ‎extremist and terrorist groups. In the face of these threats and despite a steady decline in US dependence on Saudi oil and military bases, the US commitment to defend Saudi Arabia and its oligarchy remains the same as FDR stated in 1943. With the exception of threatening to invade Saudi Arabia to protect American interests during the 1973 Saudi-led oil embargo (a threat the Saudis laughed at), consecutive US Administrations provided unconditional defense of Saudi Arabia even after the September 2001 (9/11) terrorist attack on the US by mostly Saudi nationals, an event that exposed the true nature of the Saudi ideological system and the mortal threats it poses to the American way of life.

That tragic event marked an irreversible turning point in US/Saudi relations. It changed the way the American people live their lives and turned American public opinion against Saudi Arabia and thus compelled Americans of all stripes (with the exception of lucratively paid lobbyists) to reconsider close US ties to and unconditional support for the Saudi monarchy.

Notwithstanding such historical jolts to US/Saudi relations and despite the Saudis’ role in the spread and financing of extremism and terrorism, the Trump Administration is showing signs that it’s not only going to protect the Saudi monarchy, but will reaffirm its declining influence, which was tarnished during the Bush and Obama Administrations. Reaffirming the Saudis’ diminishing influence may well undermine President Trump’s stated intention to eradicate Islamic extremism, given the Saudis’ centuries’ old reliance on religious zealotry to maintain control at home and spread their influence abroad.

Early signs of President Trump’s intended policy toward the Saudi regime were revealed by a phone call the President made to King Salman shortly after his inauguration. During the phone conversation, the two men were reported to share “identical views…on the fight against terrorism” and the creation of “safe zones” for displaced Syrians and Yemenis, albeit for different policy objectives. While President Trump’s goal is to keep refugees out of the US, the Saudi rulers’ objective is to control swathes of strategic Syrian and Yemeni lands and populations on whom they can impose their Wahhabi doctrine.

In response to President Trump’s early gesture of embracing the Saudis, the Saudi rulers responded by dispatching the King’s powerful son, Defense Minister and economic reform overseer, Prince Mohammed, to the US. Prince Mohammed was well-prepared and authorized to offer Saudi support for President Trump’s travel ban on some Muslims and for the President’s domestic fiscal plans. More importantly, Prince Mohammed is said to have presented President Trump with a detailed economic, defense and strategic blueprint whereby investments in each other’s economy will provide American companies with profitable opportunities in the Saudis’ economic reform plan, Vision 2030. As appealing as business opportunities sound, especially at this juncture of severe global economic competition, signing onto long term economic agreements with the Saudi regime will oblige the US to defend Saudi Arabia and its oligarchy for years to come, reminiscent of the 1945 US/Saudi pact.

While one of President Trump’s major presidential campaign commitments is to advance American economic interests (“America first”), his other major theme is to defeat “Islamic terrorism.” Saudi Arabia is a country where these two goals intersect and compete. Can these two formidable challenges be reconciled by President Trump, who vowed to re-invent the US economy and keep America safe from Islamic terrorism? While this undertaking is likely to be the key to President Trump’s success, it might prove to be his spikiest foreign policy dilemma. Nevertheless, the following approaches can go a long way in creating an environment where defeating extremism (without which terrorism cannot survive) and providing tangible economic benefits can be achieved:

1-Make it clear to the Saudi religious and political old guard that Saudi Arabia will not be exempt from the US war on Islamic extremism and terrorism. The Saudis are very pragmatic; they will heed this warning if they know that the Trump Administration is not bluffing.

2-Support Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, overseer of the ambitious Saudi economic reform plan (Vision 2030), if he proves to be serious about breaking away from his family’s habitual deception and manipulation of their people and the international community, especially the US. One way the Administration can do this is to help Prince Mohammed create a political cadre of non-sectarian technocrats and progressive royals (men and women) to be the decision-makers, not proxies for extremists and traditionalists, like King Salman and his anti-modernity and anti-human development generation.

3-Support Prince Mohammed’s economic reform plan (Vision 2030), which will not only generate profitable opportunities for Saudi and American companies and peoples, but will undermine the stifling influence of the Saudi religious extremists, whose defeat will significantly contribute to the success of the economic reform project and to the defeat of Saudi extremism.

4-Anticipate and be prepared to deal with discord within the royal family over empowering young prince Mohammed and non-royal technocrats to implement massive economic reform, which many have argued cannot succeed without concomitant social and political re-arrangements of the status quo. However, the royals will heed matter-of-fact discussions that their income, survival and the defeat of extremism will depend largely on the success of Vision 2030.

5-Support freedom of opposing viewpoints regarding political, social, religious, gender and economic reforms via social, visual and print media, largely controlled by the royals and their zealot establishment. Use social media to advance social change in Saudi Arabia in order to undermine the influence of extremists and anti-modernity elements, something like “Radio Free Europe,” but using pervasive modern technology.

6-Convene an inclusive international Muslim conference to consider revisiting the 15- centuries’-old interpretation of Muslim texts. The participants should include male and female representatives of all Muslims, most importantly of reformers known for their rejection of Muslim extremism, terrorism, religious intolerance and oppression of women and religious minorities. Such an event may not result in an immediate reformation of Islam, but will create a badly needed and overdue public debate among Muslims.

7-Avoid supporting Saudi controlled “safe zones” in war-torn Muslim countries. This will only result in the production of more extremists and terrorists.

Finally, Mr. Trump, his advisors and western allies have to understand and accept that “Terrorism is the final threshold in the hierarchy of extremism. Terrorism cannot be eliminated without fighting extremism. This fact should not be neglected by those interested in it.”

Saudi Clerics: Religious or Agents of Subjugation and Backwardness?

CDHR Commentary: According to this article (Saudi clerics keep mum about concerts in the kingdom) by a well-known Saudi journalist, the Saudi Mufti and his senior clerics recently abstained from criticizing or opposing a concert  organized by an enlightened Princess, Adila Bint Abdullah (daughter of late King Abdullah) on February 14, 2017. Normally, the clerics publicly oppose all forms of entertainment and non-religious celebrations, characterizing them as “depraved” and their advocates as despicable. However, in this case the clerics realized that musical entertainment has been initiated recently by King Salman’s powerful son, Prince Mohammed as part of his   economic reform plan, “Vision 2030.”

Given this reality, it’s not surprising that the clerics acquiesced to the wishes of the royals who hire, finance and control them. However, royal wishes do not exclude the clerics’     ruthless treatment of the Saudi population, especially women and promoters (male and female) of free expression and personal choice. The clerics’ ongoing assignment is to render the population fearful of authority and to enforce total obedience to the king and his family. This is the power bestowed on them by the Saudi ruling clan since the start of the Saudi/Wahhabi alliance in 1744. Now more than ever, the clerics have a staunch ally, King Salman, who shares their Salafist way of thinking regarding how the country should be ruled.

Political decision-making processes reside exclusively in the hands of the Saudi royals; therefore, significant religious de-radicalization and meaningful political, social and economic reforms are unlikely to occur peacefully without active initiatives by influential and pragmatic members of the ruling family, like Prince Talal and Princesses Adila Bint Abdullah, Basmah Bint Saud and Loulwa Al-Faisal, as well as other members of the family who do not share their forefathers’ myopic, exclusive and reactionary way of thinking.  This will require rearrangement of the palace deck chairs, including defying the established order or a palace coup. To save themselves and prevent the country from sliding into violent upheaval, like-minded pro-reform royals should form a faction to push for real change that will give the Saudi people (all citizens) hope for a better future.

Substantial political, economic, social and religious transformative measures are overdue for the sake of the country and all of its citizens, including royals.

Saudi Women’s Struggle Begins to Pay Off

CDHR Commentary: Never mind that they still have to hire poverty stricken expatriate Asians to drive them to and from their jobs because they are not allowed to drive; Saudi women’s struggle for their rights and place in society is paying off. While it’s encouraging to see a few women being hired to manage large financial institutions, the number of unemployed female university graduates, including Ph. D. holders, was estimated at 78.3% in 2012, which has not changed much, especially at the managerial levels.

Faced with an unprecedented domestic financial crisis and simmering demands for political reform, as well as regional military and strategic challenges, the Saudi rulers have to act before social unrest bursts into irreversible street confrontation, as Prince Mohammed Bin Salman bluntly stated. Regardless of the reasons that compelled the Saudi rulers and companies to promote a fraction of the millions of capable and qualified Saudi women to work at and manage prominent financial institutions, this step, while woefully overdue, is a move in the right direction, especially at a time when the country is in dire need of reducing its dependence on 10 million foreign workers and of preventing its economy from disastrous meltdown.

Many courageous Saudi women have been struggling for emancipation from the state’s institutionalized belittling policies for decades; consequently, if anyone deserves credit for the snail's pace of delayed social change regarding women in Saudi Arabia, it's not the Saudi royals as their lucratively compensated propagandists claim, but women themselves.

Ivanka Trump has an opportunity to influence her father “to do the right thing” for Saudi women, because their victory will weaken extremism and terrorism, a step toward President Trump’s campaign commitment to “destroy terrorism.”

Royals' Contempt for Economically Pinched Population

CDHR Commentary: As this article demonstrates, the Saudi royals continue to live extravagantly while the repressed Saudi people are forced into bearing the brunt of economic hardship that is distressing the country due to the drastic decline in oil prices, the costly war in Yemen, a military escapade in Bahrain and support for like-minded regimes like Sisi’s in Egypt. King Salman and his son, Prince Mohammed--the man in charge of exploring possibilities of finding other sources of income to make up for some of the radical losses in oil revenues--imposed new taxes, eliminated the state’s partially subsidized utilities and social programs upon which many Saudis rely.

The royals’ behavior at a time of economic crisis is indicative of the rulers’ contempt for their population, of which a large number is “poverty stricken” The Saudi royals’ waste of shrinking public revenues is a recipe for social strife and political instability in a society that is already seething with anger against a ruling family which suppresses and bankrupts them. The question is, how long will the US and its western allies continue to support the Saudi ruling family, praise it as an ally in the "war on terrorism" and as a stabilizing force in the Middle East while the contrary is so blatantly the case?

Rash of “Mass Executions” in the Gulf States and Jordan

CDHR Commentary: “Mass executions” arbitrary arrests and lengthy imprisonments without charges in countries like Saudi Arabia are not news, but why are other Gulf states and Jordan embracing the same barbaric practice at this time? Some Middle Eastern experts believe that the recent rash of executions carried out by the autocratic regimes of Jordan, Kuwait and the UAE, are designed to prove to the American decision-makers that these regimes are their best hope to defeat terrorism as promised by President Trump during his quest for the White House.  It’s reported that the Trump Administration has designated the governments of Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait and the UAE as the bedrock of the US’s new strategy to “eradicate Islamic terrorism from the surface of the earth.”

No one disputes that Muslim terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the Taliban and Boko Haram are hooligans, but how do they differ from the regimes that commit the same savagery, such as mass executions, flogging, and denigration of women and oppression of religious minorities, especially Christians and Jews?

For decades, many Arab and Muslim human rights activists, scholars and experts have been saying that the West is fighting the wrong terrorists; it should be fighting the regimes and institutions that create, nurture and use extremists and terrorists to maintain control over their societies and blackmail the international community, especially western democracies.

Unless President Trump and his nationalist team address the root causes of extremism and terrorism, they will end up strengthening rather than defeating them.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 11 April 2017 16:57
 

“Saudi Arabia is a Destination for Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery”

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“Saudi Arabia is a Destination for Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery”

CDHR Commentary: After a recent meeting at the UN about human trafficking, the Saudi deputy representative to the UN, Saad Al-Saad, was quoted saying that “Saudi Arabia has reaffirmed its strong rejection of all forms of human trafficking and promised to double efforts to eliminate it in coordination with the international community, by ratifying international conventions and treaties on human trafficking.”  He continued, ‘…the majority of victims {of human trafficking} are women, girls and children.’

The Saudi representative to the useless international forum, the UN, is right about the victims of human trafficking. Tragically, Saudi Arabia (the government he represents) has one of the world’s worst records on human rights in general, specifically as they relate to “women, girls and children.”

“Ratifying international conventions and treaties on human trafficking” is worthless unless implemented, enforced and scrutinized by independent civil society and a free press, none of which is permitted in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and a signatory to its stringent, wide-range shielding rules and regulations regarding women’s equality and migrant workers’ and their families’ rights. Yet, Saudi women remain marginalized, and abuses of migrant workers, especially maids, are rampant. This is mostly due to the fact that universal declarations on human rights are conveniently considered un-Islamic; therefore, implementing them would be considered blasphemous repudiation of Islam’s unsurpassable teachings. However, this male self-serving arrangement is being increasingly and impatiently challenged by its primary repressed targeted segment of Saudi society, women, as this video demonstrates.

By definition, “Human trafficking is the trade of humans, most commonly for the purpose of sexual slavery and for… providing a spouse in the context of forced marriage.”

Under the Saudi/Wahhabi retributive Shariah-based judicial system, child marriage is legally enforced, gang-raped women can be sentenced to flogging and imprisonment for luring men and polygamy (up to four wives per man) are normal practice. The unspeakable practice of child marriage is religiously sanctioned as stated by the Saudi Mufti, the highest religious authority and overseer of the Saudi educational system and enforcer of the state’s smothering social taboos, which are based on his and his subordinates’ (senior clerics) arbitrary interpretation of proper social conduct.

Why Saudi Arabia is branded “a Destination for Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery?”

It’s estimated that there are between 9 and 10 million defenseless expatriate laborers in Saudi Arabia, of which two to three million are maids. These maids are mostly poverty stricken Asian and African women who traveled to Saudi Arabia in the hope of earning honest income to feed their starving families they left behind in their poverty ravished homelands. As has been abundantly documented by human rights groups and some western governments, they are not only overworked and underpaid, but many (if not most of them) are sexually abused, beaten, starved and burned.  The inhumane treatment of many of the maids in Saudi Arabia has been highlighted by this organization (CDHR), Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the US Department of State, among many others, including some Saudi newspapers.

However, maltreatment of Saudi women is producing a corps of right activists, mostly women, but some men too. They are saying enough is enough, not only to institutionalized male domination, but to the ruling elites, the real culprits behind child marriage, human trafficking and doctrinal extremism. Despite the deleterious conditions under which they operate and the heavy price they pay, Saudi women are in the forefront of challenging one of the world’s most extremist and misogynistic ruling class that treat women with utter contempt for no other reason than their gender.

Supporting Saudi women’s struggle against vilification and exploitation serves far-reaching objectives, including extracting the claws of religious extremism and its byproduct, terrorism.

 

Homeland Security Nominee General John Kelly is Accused of Moral Bankruptcy

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Homeland Security Nominee General John Kelly is Accused of Moral Bankruptcy

CDHR Commentary: According to Naureen Shah (a female American Muslim and harsh critic of US policy toward Islamists) “It may be naive to think that Kelly — or anyone else in the Trump administration — would risk his career to stand in the way of anti-human rights proposals.”

I could not disagree more.

To insinuate that American generals (active or retired) are cold-blooded avengers and a bigoted bunch who are waiting in the wings for an opportunity to destroy America’s second-to-none democratic institutions and tolerant traditions is a fear-mongering, attention-seeking and profit-making scare tactic. Many Muslim and non-Muslim groups and individuals in the US are spreading exaggerated fear among Americans of Muslim origin for personal fame and financial gains. Their tactics are based on distortions of America, its diversified society, powerful democratic principles and its deeply-rooted distribution of power and decision-making processes.

The overwhelming majority of Americans, including generals, do not discriminate against people because of their beliefs until      followers of a faith or ideology kill and destroy in the name of their religion (“Allahu Akbar”.) In a democratic society, winning elections is based on promises and commitments to improve people’s lives and uphold the laws of the land. Those who betray public trust for personal gains will not only be unemployed quickly, but disgraced for life.

As a father of a War Veteran, I had the privilege of meeting many patriotic men and women in uniform who “Solemnly Swear” that they will defend America against domestic and foreign enemies. This oath goes for all government officials, appointed or elected. Their commitment to obey the law is enforced by a non-sectarian, non-racial and non-ethnic-based independent judicial system, staffed by men and women who also swear to defend our freedom and who have as much concern about protecting our liberty as any American, regardless of faith, ethnicity or political orientation.

Like any prior President of the United States, President Trump will be accountable to formidable independent-minded members of Congress, an autonomous judicial system, free media and a multitude of civil society overseers. Regardless of their political orientation and preferences, President-elect Trump and his appointees are accountable to all Americans and a brutal media that thrives on sensationalization, exaggeration and character assassination. Most of Trump’s supporters are not “a basket of deplorables;” they are the ones ignored by the system they and their offspring defend. Traditionally, they are among the first to volunteer to join American armed forces and are willing to pay the ultimate price to defend America at home and abroad.

American Muslims, or any other group, can best serve their adopted country by cutting the umbilical cord attaching them to the lands from which they escaped seeking emancipation from the yoke of religious and political totalitarianism, poverty, intolerance and fear. Their priority should be to teach their children that their first and foremost loyalty is to America, its security, prosperity and, above all, its empowering democratic values.

American Muslims and Muslims in the West, in general, need to understand and accept the fact that the current surge Western nationalism is emboldened by publics’ fear of and reactions to Muslim terrorist attacks on their liberty and way of life. Only then can Muslims in the West have a constructive dialogue about their religion, instead of blaming others for reacting to Islamists’ stated objectives: destruction of the individual’s liberty and freedom of choice.

 
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