Sharia-Compliant Saudi Arabia Hosts UN-Backed ‘Combating Religious Discrimination’ Conference

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Saudi Arabia hosted a two-day conference in Jeddah last week, which was attended by the president of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), where members convened to discuss measures to thwart religiously-motivated violence and discrimination.

The first order of business for attendees was to adopt UNHRC resolution 16/18, which provides an “eight-point Action plan” to reach a favorable outcome, the Saudi Gazette reported.

Country representatives convened at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation headquarters in Jeddah, discussing how the “Istanbul Process” would be most effective in achieving a result that would “encourage religious leaders and civil society members in addressing the root causes of discrimination based on religion.”

Saudi Arabia and the greater OIC, however, have often been accusing of extreme religious bias.

The OIC, made up of 57 member states, remains stacked with countries that preach the inherently discriminatory Sharia laws system. Member states such as Iran, Pakistan, Syria, and others remain severely derelict lands when it comes to protecting the rights of religious minorities. 

Saudi Arabia, which hosted the event and retains membership in the OIC, has seen its share of high profile religious discrimination cases. 

On Sunday, a Saudi court upheld a ruling that saw Raif Badawi, an atheist blogger, condemned to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison.

It remains common for “apostates” from Islam or critics of the religion to be put to death.

In February, a man in his 20s was sentenced to death by a Saudi Court for ripping up a Koran and cursing Muhammad.

Riyadh even has its own religious policing authority, known as the “Haia,” whose sole mission is to enforce the Sharia within the nation.


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