A fascinating article on the treatment of Christians in Muslim countries:
Saudi Arabia – Conversion by a Muslim to another religion is punishable by death. Bibles are illegal. Churches are illegal. Easter celebrations are illegal. It is punishable by death for a non-mulsim to enter the â€œholyâ€ muslim cities of Medina and Mecca.
In a modern, twenty-first century world that sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Yet it is easy to find corroboration. For example, this article opens with:
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is an Islamic theocratic monarchy in which Islam is the official religion; the law requires that all Saudi citizens be Muslims. Religious freedom is virtually non-existent. The Government does not provide legal recognition or protection for freedom of religion, and it is severely restricted in practice. As a matter of policy, the Government guarantees and protects the right to private worship for all, including non-Muslims who gather in homes for religious practice; however, this right is not always respected in practice and is not defined in law. Moreover, the public practice of non-Muslim religions is prohibited.
Under Saudi law conversion by a Muslim to another religion is considered apostasy, a crime punishable by death if the accused does not recant.
This article says:
Islamic Saudi Arabia and communist North Korea are expected to be the worldâ€™s worst persecutors of Christians in 2008, a church persecution advocacy group predicted.
In both countries, Christianity is illegal and practice of the religion is strictly forbidden and results in severe punishments.
The CIA Factbook notes that Saudi Arabia is 100% Muslim.
What about the United States? The U.S. clearly does not officially track down and kill people because of their religion on American soil. But does the United States discriminate against Muslims in other ways? Keep in mind that the U.S. is a country that calls itself “the melting pot”, whose national motto is, “From many, one”, whose discrimination laws claim that religious discrimination is entirely illegal, and which publicly proclaims itself to be a completely neutral and accommodating to every religion. There should be zero discrimination here. Are Muslims treated in the same way as Christians?
Clearly not. In endorsing Barack Obama, Colin Powell felt it necessary to make this statement:
“I’m also troubled by, not what Sen. McCain says, but what members of the party say, and it is permitted to be said such things as: “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is: he is not a Muslim. He’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer is: No, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing he or she can be president?”
Discrimination against Muslims is not some fringe activity. It is happening at the very highest levels of American presidential politics.
Does the United States discriminate against rational people who practice no religion? Certainly, in a hundred different ways, and at the highest levels. This article summarizes the efforts of Elizabeth Dole to publicly discriminate:
Anywhere there is religion we find division and discrimination. In Saudi Arabia the division is extreme. But even in the United States, where the public attempt is made to tamp down the division inherent in religion, the Christian majority tries to divide people at every turn. Putting “In God We Trust” on the money makes the division as explicit as it can possibly be. That is the nature of religion.