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January 28, 2015 / 8 Shevat, 5775
 
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On Israel’s President’s Conference

Upon my return from Israel, I praised the country and the people, but many of my Muslim friends were not interested in knowing these details.

The President's Conference in Jerusalem.

The President's Conference in Jerusalem.
Photo Credit: Miriam Alster/FLASH90

But I have never seen or heard a Palestinian speak out about these human rights violations; take part in demonstrations or boycotts for these offences, or show support for the cause of Pakistani women. Where were their voices when Christians and Shias were being killed and brutalized in Pakistan just a few months ago? No one asked me to cancel my annual visits to Pakistan, but I did lodge a complaint against my own land of birth at the UNHRC, so I may not be travelling back there soon.

Let us also talk about Saudi Arabia, a country where the list of human rights violations is endless. There is evidence, according to some UN reports, of torture; and lashing criminals is a common practice. Amnesty International published an annual report on the state of human rights in Saudi Arabia last week. The report covered a large range of human rights violations within the country — everything from women’s repression, migrant worker mistreatment, execution of minors, sectarianism, arbitrary detainment and torture was discussed. The largest section of the report, however, concerned the suppression of dissidents and the detainment of human rights defenders within the kingdom.

But no one ever speaks of BDS against Saudi Arabia. I think that all Muslims should boycott Saudi Arabia for one year at least.

In ending let me say this to my Palestinian friend: The Palestinian-Israeli conflict is over land, and can be solved when both sides recognize one another and, as equals, then have a dialogue. This means that, like me, you have to accept that Israel has a right to exist. It is not the only conflict related to Muslims. If you want justice for those facing criminal human rights violations, then speak out against Sudan, Egypt, Burma, China, Iran and all other countries who regularly persecute their own citizens.

Meanwhile I’m packing for Israel and counting the days. My friends there have grown in number, and I plan to have a wonderful time in that beautiful nation.

Raheel Raza is President of The Council of Muslims Facing Tomorrow

Originally published at Gatestone Institute.

About the Author: Author of Their Jihad... Not My Jihad, Raheel Raza is a public speaker, Consultant for Interfaith and Intercultural diversity, documentary film maker, freelance journalist and founder of SAMA (Sacred Arts ad Music Alliance). She has recently been appointed to the Public Service Committee for the Ontario College Of Teachers.


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