The Saudis. They are supposed to be our allies, yet they have their fair share of Islamists. Saudi Arabia is also one of the most repressive countries in the world when it comes to human rights and freedom of religion.
Islam is the state religion (since Mecca and Medina are located in the country) thus the practice of all other religions is forbidden. Symbols and books of other faiths are confiscated by the authorities. Hence, sharia law is the law of the land.
And when it comes to the Saudi authorities, the most notorious entity is the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice’s Mutaween (religious police).
Responsible for enforcing sharia law throughout the kingdom, they are practically a group of thugs who seem to enjoy abusing their power. There have been instances of brutality and cases over trivial incidents (a woman was harassed over eating an ice cream cone- the licking of it must have been too much for the Mutaween). The Mutaween was even responsible for the deaths of fifteen girls in 2002 when their school was on fire (in which the mutaween refused to let the girls exit the building because they were not properly covered). The Mutaween even went so far as to attack people who were trying to rescue the girls.
Slavery is another matter when it comes to pointing out how repressive the Saudis can be. There have been various instances of Saudis’ enslaving people from other nations (particularly from Asia) under the guise of hiring them as domestic servants. When the servants arrive, their passports are confiscated and they are forced to work seven days a week (with hardly any time off). In addition, they are subject to physical, verbal, and sexual abuse.
One particular case is that of Homaidan Al-Turki, a Saudi national who settled in Colorado. In 2006, Al-Turki and his wife were arrested for enslaving their female housekeeper from Indonesia. During the criminal proceedings, Al-Turki tried to claim he was a victim of prejudice toward Muslims/Arabs. He even went so far as to say that “the state has criminalized these actions.”
Of course, one should recall that the Koran endorses slavery. The arrest of the Al-Turkis strained relations between America and the Saudis, and the Colorado Attorney General had to travel to Riyadh to smooth things over. Apparently, America’s alliance with Saudi Arabia (and its dependence on foreign oil) hung in the balance.
You also might recall my article in April of 2013 on Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal, whose entrepreneurial influence into News Corporation (the parent company of Fox News) and elsewhere is quite disturbing, as is his support of the Islamist cause.
In conclusion, America needs to examine its alliance and policies regarding Saudi Arabia (and other Muslim countries for that matter). Drilling for oil here (thus eliminating our dependence on foreign oil) would be a good start. Economic sanctions and the freezing of assets might not be such a bad idea, either.