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NEWS : Hindus debarred from entering Saudi Arabia

Posted By Ashok V Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
Sat, 18 Jan 97 22:29:07 EST

Title : Hindus debarred from entering Saudi Arabia
Author : Muzaffar Hussain
Publication : Organiser
Date : January 19, 1997

There is a startling news from Riyadh, the capital of Saudi Arabia,
which says that the Saudi Arabian government would not allow, entry
of any Follower of Hinduism into Saudi Arabia. This black law will
apply not only, to the Hindus of India but also to all Hindus who
may be citizens of other countries.

Till the other day the law was that no non-Muslim could enter the
40 Kilometre boundary of Mecca-Medina, but now the whole of Saudi
Arabia is out of bounds for Hindus. Other communities should not
think that such a law could never apply to them. The moment Saudis
do not need American army and armoury, in no time to the Saudis
will drive them out. The Jews never visit Saudi Arabia, and for
Buddhists the sword is not so far hanging over their heads. Lest
the Indian diplomatic mission in Riyadh is closed, there is a rider
that only those Hindus who are seeking employment or business are
covered by the ban.

Is banning the entry of one particular community not against the
canons of international law? The Human Rights Commission has not
uttered a word in this context. Doesn't that mean a country can
hit hard at will a society that has 100 crore population?

Hindus who had gone to Saudi Arabia to work have been mercilessly
driven Out. The excuse to oust them is that immigrants are being
turned away. Not only Indians, but Filipinos. Bangladeshi and
Pakistanis in their thousands are meeting with the same fate. There
is no rule that these immigrants cannot come in future. Yet not
only those Hindus who come there for work or occupation but all
Hindus have been debarred from entering Saudi Arabia. This means
that other immigrants were deported for facilitating ouster of
Hindus lock, stock and barrel. Disallowing immigrants is not a
recent decision of the Saudis-this has been going on for a long
time.

In comparison to other countries, Saudi Arabia keeps a more
vigilant eye on new entrants to its country. This is every
country's right-that is why we have not said anything. But in India
when any leader or political party objects to Pakistan or
Bangladeshi illegal immigrants, illegal immigrants, why is a hue
and cry raised? In this context, the views of Bal Thackeray and
Shiv Sena are so appropriate - this must be understood by our
politicians. Hindus have been discriminated against. Those who
used to praise the Saudis, should at least now have no hesitation
in raising their voice against this recent Saudi pronouncement.

It is not that discrimination by Saudis is against just Hindus.
For years it has been Saudi policy that in a passport where besides
Muslim, Shia is also mentioned-the visa should not be issued. What
was their policy against Shias, has been extended to encompass
Hindus. If it goes on this way, a day will come when -all
non-Muslims will be refused admittance. Such a phenomenon has
taken place in the world for the first time. What work Jews did not
do in Israel against Arabs, the Saudis in one stroke have
accomplished against an entire community. In the past, one country
may have not allowed entry to citizens of another Country - but
barring people in the name of religion-has happened for the first
time. The Indian Government has not expressed any opposition. If
the UF Government has done this for appeasing Muslims-it is not
only the country's misfortune but humanity's disfigurement.

Our government may think that what the Saudis think or do is their
prerogative. but it ought have happened that with the announcement
debarring Hindus from entering Saudi Arabia. the Muslims of this
country declared that they too would not enter that country for
work or occupation. Such a gesture of Indian Muslims would have
endeared them to the Hindus of this country. But the unfortunate
thing is that common Muslims or their leaders did no such thing.

After having talked to Hindu gulf returnees in Kerala, it has
become clear that the role has not been so much of Saudi Arabia as
of Kerala Muslim fundamentalists. Malayali Muslims have been doing
propaganda that what money Hindus are earning in Saudi Arabia is
being used to demolish mosques in India. The propaganda added that
these very people brought down the Babri mosque. The propaganda
was so vigorous that the Saudi Arabian government had to take this
decision. But it would have been better if the Saudi Arabian
ambassador to India investigated beforehand when the truth would
have seen the light of day. Behind such a propaganda was the ruse
that this way Malayali Muslims would get more work. But whether
this deception will work is difficult to say-but at present almost
all Indians are affected.

Saudi Arabian government has forgotten that the Malayali people who
it has targeted against-served the cause of Islam to such a great
extent. In Kerala's famous Trichur district there is a town by
name Kodungallore-its erstwhile Hindu King donated money to build a
mosque for Muslims. That mosque is known as Cheraman mosque even to
this day. Jews' synagogue in Cochin and Kodungallore's first mosque
has been India's secular tradition.

Not to talk of its acknowledging Indian majority community's help.
Saudi Arabia that professes to be the protector of Islam. it is a
disgrace that a ban has been imposed upon it. In the Holy, Koran it
is said, "oblige those, who oblige you". To what extent Saudi
Arabia has followed Koran's edict, it is for Muslims themselves to
gauge.

Some years ago a play was staged there whose title was "Whose
coffin is this?" One dialogue of it was, "Is it Mohammad's?", "Is
it Christ's?" It's a long time the play was enacted. But when
someone pointed out as to why Mohammad's name was mentioned and
belittled, the government felt hurt. It hauled up the cast and the
play's director and sent them behind bars. Behind the play was
internal Malayali bickerings. The play became a medium to settle
scores. Even today five of the actors are in Saudi Arabian jail.
To punish Hindu Malayalis, this law was promulgated to deprive them
of livelihood and prosperity - but the Malayali Muslims did not
know that it would recoil on them.


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