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Catholic Culture News

Who's our ally?

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | 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 CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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