Saudis open “center for tolerance” in Europe

Daniel S. writes:

The Saudi monarch, King Abdullah, has opened a new “religious tolerance” center in Europe that deserves to be noted:

A new Saudi-funded, Europe-based center for interreligious dialogue will be “a good medium to spread the message of Islam,” says the government-appointed imam of Mecca’s Grand Mosque—a man who has stoked controversy in the past by calling Jews “monkeys and pigs” and Christians “cross worshippers.”

“The formation of this center in the West with King Abdullah’s support gives a strong message that Islam is a religion of dialogue and understanding and not a religion of enmity, fanaticism and violence,” the International Islamic News Agency quoted Sheikh Abdul Rahman al-Sudais as saying.

But exactly who is it that fails to see Islam as a having a “strong message” of “dialogue and understanding”? It would seem that post-Christian Europe, ever eager to coddle Islam and allow mass immigration from Muslim regions, is not in need of any convincing that Islam is a “religion of peace.” All the beheadings and suicide bombings in the world cannot succeed in convincing the Europeans otherwise. On the other hand, it would seem that Muslims themselves fail to understand Islam as a religion of “dialogue and understanding.” Pious Muslim fighters in Syria have killed, kidnapped, and exiled hundreds of Christians, including priests and monks, and have bombed churches. Will this center help turn them from their ways? In Egypt the Coptic Christian community is subject to routine mob violence from Muslims and too have had churches bombed and desecrated. Is the Saudi monarch interested in convincing them of the errors of their ways? In Pakistan a teenage girl was shot by devout Muslims for advocating education for girls. Is this center meant to help educate these wayward Taliban fighters? In Norway a Muslim politician recently expressed his regret that Hitler didn’t kill more Jews. Can this center help him?

Of course, the Saudi leadership has no interest in convincing Muslims that Islam is a religion of “dialogue and understanding,” it only wishes further to convince witless European liberals that they need to accept that Islam is all peaceful and civil (and reality be damned!). It must also be noted that while the Saudi government funds this center, it also funds rabidly anti-Christian, anti-Jewish, anti-Western, pro-jihad clerics in Saudi Arabia (and Europe!) and is responsible for funding murderous Muslim militant groups in Bosnia, Kosovo, Chechnya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

LA replies:

Daniel S.’s cynicism is unwarranted, and his prejudicial attitude demonstrates exactly why such a center for tolerance is so sorely needed. Far from being in instrument to help spread Islam at the expense of the West, this center for tolerance expresses Muslims’ great desire to conform itself to the West. What is the West’s highest principle? Tolerance, of course, and in particular tolerance toward that which is most unassimilable and hostile to one’s own society. King Abdullah doubtless noted the existence of numerous centers for tolerance in Europe and America, e.g., the Anti-Defamation League’s several Museums of Tolerance in Los Angeles, New York, and Jerusalem, and wanted to reassure the West that the Muslim world is fully on board with the West’s program of tolerating and welcoming its mortal enemies.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 28, 2012 09:15 AM | Send

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