Donald Hank
Saudi Arabia (not Iran) ranks 2nd in religious persecution, after N. Korea
By Donald Hank
March 9, 2015

When discussing or analyzing reports from the Muslim world, we need to always keep in mind: The Saudis are SUNNI (the more fundamentalist and violent sect) while Iran (along with Syria) is predominantly SHIITE, a sect that is less radical and violent toward other religions and sects of Islam. The actual differences in behavior of these sects are less due to theology than to culture.

These cultural differences are of inestimable importance but are almost completely ignored by our grotesquely biased press and political class. I had written before on cultural differences.

between Muslim groups.

I would guess that only about 1% of Americans are aware of these differences and believe that all Muslims are equally blood thirsty. There is obviously a political agenda behind this blackout and it has to do with a dangerous ideology embodied in the Wolfowitz doctrine (isolation of Russia and its allies, such as Syria and Iran). If Iran broke ties with Russia tomorrow and hired an American company to run its nuclear facilities, the Iran bashing would stop instantly.

At variance with received wisdom, the predominantly Shiite Iranian government allows, as one would expect based on the above, more religious freedom than, say, Saudi Arabia and other Sunni countries. Religiously speaking, Iranians read the same Koran and Hadith as the Sunni world, but, despite their harsh enforcement of shariah law toward Muslims, their culture (including their interpretation of the scriptures) has for centuries encouraged more tolerance of non-Muslims and non-Shia. As a testimony to this tolerance, Bibles are allowed in Iran (though not in Saudi Arabia). Christians may practice their religion but may not proselytize. Iran also has a sizeable Jewish population (its hostility toward Israel can be attributed more to territorial politics than to religion. They see Israel as expanding into sacred Muslim territory). More importantly, the Iranian populace is more secular than that of other Muslim countries. For example, its young people tend to imitate Western behaviors and fashions. This major difference with Saudi Arabia is not reflected in the Western press, which spews venom 24-7 against Iran – even unfairly making it appear less tolerant of Christians, for example, here – but downplays the severe and glaring abuses of Saudi Arabia, including the latter's support for terror organizations like ISIS and al-Qaeda, as reported by the NYT, The Atlantic here and here, but also in the conservative press, such as here. You'd think Americans would wake up to this obvious bias and lack of objectivity, but they seem to be inured to it and even welcome it. Indeed a recent poll shows a majority of Americans willing to use force against Iran. US 1 (we the people) seem to like being hoodwinked by politicians and media (US 2) in terms of foreign policy, which reflects a dismal lack of knowledge of the world around us. Thus we want to rule the world but not to know it – an untenable position in the long run. We need to wake up before this ignorance leads to another senseless war – particularly since a war with a nuclear Iran would quite likely pit us against two other nuclear powers, first Russia, and then a sympathetic China acting as a bodyguard.

Incidentally, Iran has the biggest Jewish population in any Muslim country. Where do we read that in today's Iranophobic press?

Despite the growing mountain of mitigating comparative analyses, the UN, now virtually a US-dominated body, has issued a report singling out Iran for religious persecution, even though Iran is one of the least anti-Christian states in the Muslim world (though they do persecute Baha'i).

If you do a search for "UN blasts Iran for religious persecution" you find the above-linked article and more articles critical of Iran, as if it were the worst offender in the world.

Yet if you search for "UN blasts Saudi Arabia for religious persecution," you find no articles on this subject. In fact, you will bring up the one linked above regarding Iran.

Any unbiased researcher will easily see the utter hypocrisy between the way the West treats Iran vs the way it treats Saudi Arabia.

The full truth about the religious intolerance of the Saudis can only be found on specialized sites such as those dealing with Christian persecution, like Christian Post. To sum it up, Christianity may be practiced in Iran but not in Saudi Arabia, the ally of US 2 (the US establishment, not necessarily the people, at least not if we can shake off the puppet strings).

The above-referenced Christian Post article says:

"In 2013, it (Saudi Arabia) was ranked at No.2, behind North Korea.."

Despite this, one of my correspondents, a retired military man, said that Iran (not Saudi Arabia) must be "taken away" (eliminated)! That would mean millions of people must be annihilated. He unflinchingly endorses genocide and thinks this makes him a patriotic American.

We are being taken for a ride by our press, our politicians, and, sorry to have to say this, but also by Netanyahu. There is obviously an agenda behind the Iranophobia in the press today. It has crossed the line into racism, a hatred for all things Iranian, harbored by the same people who hate all things Russian and, as a corollary, all things Syrian. After all, racism almost never targets only one ethnic group.

But you say, hasn't Iran threatened to attack Israel? Actually, such a statement was attributed to ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but was based on an apparent misquote, as shown here. More importantly, far from threatening nuclear war with Israel, the latest Khamenei has, over the past few years, repeatedly and consistently said to his own people and to other Arab leaders that the use of nuclear weapons is a sin in Islam (the antipathy of the Arab world to Iran is more a manifestation of Shiaphobia than of actual fear of nukes. Israeli writer Daniel Greenfield, while critical of Iran, has admitted here that the entire Arab World would have nukes within 10 years. Pakistan already has them). A recently released compilation of video vignettes illustrates this.

No one can prove a negative, so if you choose to believe that Iran is poised to nuke Israel, you may. However, to reach this conclusion, you will have to climb over a mountain of evidence to the contrary, a smattering of which I have presented above.

© Donald Hank


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Donald Hank

Until July of 2009, Don Hank was operating a technical translation agency out of his home in Wrightsville, PA. He is now retired and residing in Panama with his wife and daughter.

A former language teacher, he holds an undergraduate degree in French and German from Millersville State University (PA), a Master's degree in Russian language and literature from Kutztown State College (also in PA), has studied Chinese for 3 years in Taiwan at the Mandarin Training Center, and is self-taught in other languages, having logged a total of 8 years abroad in total immersion situations.

He is also the founder of Lancaster-York Non-Custodial Parents, a volunteer organization that provides Christian counseling for non-custodial parents.


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