We’ve all heard about the necessity for religious tolerance and respect for different religions.
That was the main argument against ridiculing Mohammed put forth by prominent Muslims during the various cartoon crises and the uproar in advance of Geert Wilders’ movie. There have been proposals in the UN for a resolution that would make respect for the religion of others mandatory under international law, and thus outlaw the Motoons and any other blasphemous depictions or descriptions of the Prophet.
But when the Saudis really got serious about looking at mandatory religious tolerance in their own country, they realized the ramifications of what they might be getting into, and decided that it wasn’t such a good idea after all. According to ANSAmed:
Saudi Arabia: Pact To Respect All Religions Rejected
A resolution calling for the enactment of an international pact to forbid religions from being defamed or insulted as well as their symbols, leaders and prophets has been voted out by the Saudi Shoura (Consultative Council).
A total of 77 members opposed the recommendation while 33 voted in favour, online newspaper Gulf News reports. According to the opponents, such a pact would force people to recognise religions, which advocate idol worship, and that “would be unacceptable.”
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The rejected resolution stated that “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs shall work in coordination with Arab and Islamic groups and others at the United Nations to draft an international pact for respecting religions, their symbols and leaders.” “This recommendation is creating ‘much ado’“, said Khaleel Al Khaleel, a member of the Shoura. The recommendation would create a dangerous precedent that may produce a negative impact on Muslims rather than followers of other religions, he added. “Some consider Buddhism and Qadianism as religions. Can we make it obligatory for Muslims to respect these faiths and avoid criticising them?,” he asked.
Mohammad Al Quwaihes, who presented the resolution, told reporters that he had not expected that his move would be defeated in such a way as the overwhelming majority of members were in favour of introducing the resolution for deliberations. (ANSAmed).
I’d never heard of Qadianism before, so I looked it up. It’s another name for the Ahmadiyya movement, an offshoot of Islam that arose in India at the end of the 19th century. It is, of course, considered a heresy by the rest of Islam, and it’s no wonder that the Saudi authorities are nervous about having to recognize it as an official religion requiring tolerance and respect.
But what about Buddhism? Is that a religion? Or just a weird cult of loonies and misfits?
I guess we’ll have to wait for the official ruling from Al-Azhar University before we make a final decision.
Hat tip: C. Cantoni