Is Saudi Arabia any different from ISIS?

WASHINGTON, Jan. 8, 2016 — What has transformed Islam, a 1,400-year-old religion that has often spread a message of peace and nonviolence, into an inspiration for brutality? Islam’s history spans 1,400 years. Starting with the prophet Mohammad, its history was one of enlightenment, forbidding the oppression or mistreatment of minorities. People of different faiths were allowed to live and follow their own religions. Christians served as the close counselors and advisers to Islamic rulers, and when the Jews were expelled from Christian Spain, they found refuge in the Islamic world. Today, there are no Islamic countries in the world. What we see in the Middle East has nothing to do with Islam. Because most people there are Muslim, their corrupt leaders use Islamic identity to enforce their own agenda.

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WASHINGTON, Sept. 4, 2015 — ISIS, arguably the most violent terror group in the world, has again released video of brutal killings of Shia Muslims. In the five-minute video released on Sunday, four Shia Muslims are interviewed one by one. They are told to introduce themselves, state the Iraqi tribe they belong to, and declare that they are members of a militia that defends Iraq from ISIS. ISIS accused the men of spying and of disloyalty to the so-called Islamic state. The video is not the first of its kind, nor will it be the last. Social media and independent news agencies have released videos of men, women and children of different faiths and backgrounds being held in cages and executed in brutal ways by ISIS.

WASHINGTON, June 3, 2015 — Over the last 10 days, Saudi Arabia has experienced terrorist attacks on Shia mosques, with attackers killing men, women and children as they pray for peace. On May 22, 2015, a suicide bomber entered Imam Ali mosque in Al-Qudaih, Qatif, Saudi Arabia, killing more than 20 people and leaving more than 130 wounded. Ambulances and medical staff did not respond to the scene of the explosion – a Shia mosque – leaving neighbors to move the bodies to the hospital in their own cars. A second explosion took place on My 29, 2015. A car bomb in front of Imam Hussein mosque in the Dammam left four dead. While ISIS detonated the bombs, the House of Saud laid the groundwork for the anti-Shia attacks.  

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WASHINGTON,  May 2, 2015 – “Are you Shia?” This is the questions Muslims are forced to answer as they apply for Hajj pilgrimage. Every year, around three million pilgrims visit the city of Mecca. The process of getting a visa is either via  a travel agency or via applications directly from other countries. Due to limited space and lack of Saudi service during that time, Saudi officials have arranged for different countries to limit the number of people they can send to the Hajj pilgrimage. Some countries have created a ministry of Hajj to deal with limitations or discrimination against Shia who are attempting to participate in Hajj.  

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WASHINGTON, January 12, 2015 — The United States has worked to defend people around the world and grant them freedom from discrimination. America’s fight in the Middle East and north Africa was based on the fact that the U.S. does not tolerate dictatorships, and that no one is above repercussions if they target innocent people. The atrocities perpetrated by ISIS have brought many countries such as Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Jordan, Bahrain and Qatar together to prevent this group from moving to another country and continuing their activities.

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WASHINGTON, November 21, 2014 — “There’s two kinds of people in this world,” says Will Smith in the movie trailer for Focus. “There’s hammers and nails. You decide which one you want to be.” That is an interesting way to categorize humanity, but we could add another kind of person to the list: people who watch the “hammer and nails”. Hammers are those who oppress others to gain and stay in control; nails are the people who are victimized by them, people who often wish only for equality and freedom. Hammers — terrorist groups like ISIS and governments that of Bahrain — pound on on the innocent inhabitants of their states as though they are nails in a workshop.