July 18, 2022

Catholic Law Professor Marshall J. Breger recently published an opinion piece in the Summer Issue (2022) of Moment, the leading independent Jewish magazine. The piece, “Not Your Grandfather’s Saudi Arabia,” reflects on the shift toward religious tolerance in Saudi Arabia. Professor Breger is a regular contributor to Moment.

Date: Summer Issue 2022
By: Marshall Breger
Not Your Grandfather’s Saudi Arabia - For the first time, there are glimmers of interfaith tolerance in Riyadh.

The Muslim World League, an international Islamic NGO based in Mecca, declared it was building on this foundation when in 2019 it promulgated the Charter of Makkah, which laid out the case for toleration and religious pluralism by Muslim-majority countries. To be sure, the league, founded in 1962 under royal patronage, had a problematic past on issues of antisemitism and religious tolerance, reflecting the troubled views of Saudis generally. But in the last five years or so it has done a volte-face. The league’s secretary-general, the former Saudi Minister of Justice Mohammed Al-Issa, has turned it toward envisioning a moderate Islam. He has included Jews (like myself) in religious conferences, led a delegation to Auschwitz in 2020 and promoted Islam as a religion of tolerance and peace.

Building on the 2019 Charter, the forum I attended in May issued a communiqué that stated, among other things, that “We must take into consideration the unique differences in each religion” and refrain “from exerting any forced imposition over another religion or culture”; that “We appeal to all countries and the international community to do all they can to provide adequate protection for places of worship. . .and to distance them from intellectual and political conflicts and sectarian strife”; and that “We condemn all extremist, violent and terrorist practices against followers of any religion” and “call for the sanction of any act that would undermine religious symbols and all that religious communities hold sacred.”

To read the full article by Professor Marshall Breger, click here.