Saudi Arabia Seeks UN Platform to Promote Pluralism Abroad

[New York Times] Neil MacFarquhar - Saudi Arabia, which deploys a special police force to ensure that a narrow sect of Islam predominates in the kingdom, is sponsoring a discussion at the UN on religious tolerance starting Wednesday. More than a dozen world leaders are scheduled to attend the meeting including President Bush, British Prime Minister Brown, Israeli President Shimon Peres, and the heads of seven Arab states. King Abdullah, the Saudi monarch, and Peres were both expected as guests of Ban Ki-moon, the secretary general, at a dinner Tuesday night, a rare chance for an encounter. But human rights groups are crying foul that Saudi Arabia is being given a platform to promote religious tolerance abroad while actively combating it at home. "It's like apartheid South Africa having a conference at the UN on racial harmony," said Ali al-Ahmed, a Shiite Muslim dissident from Saudi Arabia based in Washington.

2008-11-12 01:00:00

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