Action Alert!

Who's our ally?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles ) | Oct 14, 2003

You might have seen the headline in today's News Bytes: "Few Jews Remain in Baghdad." That news, even in headline form, got me to thinking.

There may be few Jews living in Baghdad, but there are no Jews living in Riyadh-- at least not living openly. There are also no Christians practicing their faith openly in Saudia Arabia; it's illegal.

While we're on the subject, there is substantial evidence that Saddam Hussein helped to finance terrorist groups. There is more substantial evidence that the Saudi royall family helped to finance terrorist groups. In Baghdad, if you want to go to Mass, there's no problem at all; dozens of churches are open, and thousands of the faithful worship without fear. (And that was true even under Saddam Hussein's rule.) If you want to attend Mass during a visit to Saudi Arabia, you sneak into a private room somewhere, risking deportation if you're caught.

This doesn't mean that Iraq is a model of religious freedom. It does mean that the US has some strange allies.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Pseudodionysius - Oct. 14, 2003 11:58 PM ET USA

    Bill Sampson, a Canadian, very much enjoyed his 3 years of torture and threatened murder in a Saudi Arabian prison. The Saudis say that he's a lying no-good varmint. Bill Sampson says that the Saudis are two-faced Wahabbi maniacs. The Saudi ambassador to Ottawa was the belle of the ball while he whined and dined all parties at his embassy digs. No word on whether the CCCB stormed the embassy demanding Justice for Christians.

  • Posted by: John J Plick - Oct. 14, 2003 7:33 PM ET USA

    The Democratic positions are intolerable, but then again the Republicans are certainly not perfect. Still, I would prefer "friendship" with the Saudis to partial birth abortion.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2003 6:23 PM ET USA

    A friend, petro-technician, working in Saudi Arabia, wrote, asking that nothing of a religious nature be sent to him. He said it might get him into "real trouble" & that anything Christian would be confiscated & destroyed at P.O. He said secret police carefully monitor Christian dwellings, often break in, & (if religious worship is going on) everyone is taken away to jails, dungeons, or worse. Most Christians there are virtual "slaves" from East or South Asia. Saudis, rich on oil $$, don't work.

  • Posted by: - Oct. 14, 2003 5:39 PM ET USA

    And there were no weapons of mass destruction, no Al Qaeda link; no immediate threat to the U.S. Why did we really went into Iraq? I think the reason is not oil either.