There are millions of non-Muslims in Saudi Arabia. However, the Interior Ministry has warned non-Muslims that they are expected to respect Islamic restrictions during Ramadan and refrain from eating, drinking or smoking in public during Ramadan. Thus for a full month, non-Muslims are expected to act as Muslims in public in the ultimate denial of religious freedom.
The government says that the warning is to ensure non-Muslims “show consideration for feelings of Muslims” and “preserve the sacred Islamic rituals.” The penalty included cancellation of contracts and expulsion.
It is the latest example of how “tolerance” principles are being used to support the enforcement of orthodoxy. I have written extensively on the rise of blasphemy or hate speech prosecutions against religious critics in the West. The Obama Administration has been working with Pakistan and other Muslim nations to develop an international standard for blasphemy prosecutions. The West has steadily yielded to the demands of religious groups that free speech must be curtailed in the name of faith. At the same time, Western governmental and religious leaders have denounced agnostics and atheists as one of the greatest threats facing the West (here and here and here and here). President Obama and Hillary Clinton have been facilitating this trend by working with Muslim nations to develop an international standard allowing for the prosecution of those who insult religion. The Administration has drawn a dangerous line with Muslim countries in first supporting the concept of an international blasphemy standard. As I have mentioned before, the efforts of the Obama Administration to work with these countries on an international blasphemy standard is a threat to free speech around the world. After first supporting an international blasphemy standard, the Administration sought to get Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and other countries to adopt the Brandenburg standard as the basis for such prosecutions.
Prosecution of critics of religion or particular faiths in the West are often based on the same claim as the Saudi warning this week: to preserve tolerance in society. It is an Orwellian twist. The enforcement of a dominant religious faith is treated as an expression of respect and tolerance while refusal to adhere to that faith is treated as hate speech or intolerance.
Source: Washington Post