Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah has written a letter of condolences and sympathy to President Boush and the American people for last September's attacks. He writes in part:

"We in Saudi Arabia felt an especially great pain at the realisation that a number of young Saudi citizens had been enticed and deluded and their reasoning subverted to the degree of denying the tolerance that their religion embraced, and turning their backs on the homeland, which has always stood for understanding and moderation... I would like to make it clear that true Muslims all over the world will never allow a minority of deviant extremists to speak in the name of Islam and distort its spirit of tolerance."

In the kingdom that "has always stood for understanding and moderation," devoted to "the tolerance that their religion embraced," it is illegal to practice any religion but Islam; illegal to teach any interpretations or schools of Islam other than the official one (resulting, in particular, of persecution of Shi'ites and Sufis); illegal to wear symbols of any religion but Islam; illegal to import, publish, or circulate books supporting any religion but Islam or any rival interpretation of Islam; illegal to possess such books; and illegal to celebrate the holidays of any other religion, even in private.

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