.- Freedom House's Center for Religious Freedom today welcomed the U.S. State Departmentâs designation of Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Eritrea to its list of "countries of particular concern" under the International Religious Freedom Act. Other countries on the list are Burma, China, Iran, North Korea and Sudan.
Center Director Nina Shea said: âThe addition of Saudi Arabia for the first time to the State Department's short-list of egregious religious persecutors marks a new day in the world struggle against extreme religious intolerance. This intolerance is the ideology that undergirds Islamic terror.â
Shea said the government of Saudi Arabia âhas been responsible for the proliferation worldwide of an extreme Wahhabi interpretation of Islamâ for decades. This interpretation of Islam, she said, fosters âvirulent hatred, alienation and even violence toward Christians, Jews and other religious believers, including moderate Muslims.â
The centerâs director said Saudi efforts have even begun to radicalize Muslim communities far beyond the Arabian Peninsula,â including in Northern Nigeria, Indonesia and Central Asia.