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Congressional Resolution Calls for Divesture From Saudi Arabia

AINA (12/15/05)

Washington — Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida today introduced a resolution calling for the United States Government to consider fully divesting all forms of savings, investments or loans that are directly or indirectly connected to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia .

The resolution calls for the United States Government to “ensure that managers of the United States Government pension plans or funds in thrift saving banks, managers of pension plans maintained in the private sector by plan sponsors in the United States, and managers of mutual funds sold or distributed in the United States immediately initiate efforts to divest all investments of such plans or funds in any bank or financial institution that directly or through a subsidiary has outstanding loans to or financial activities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or its instrumentalities.”

Such divestment is the result of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia ‘s extensive and deplorable record of human rights and religious freedom violations, not to mention its considerable exportation of religious extremism and terrorism. The persecution of faiths other than the state religion of Wahabbist Islam is common and even encouraged by state leaders. All non-Muslims are second-class citizens, facing persecution in employment, education, law, and profession of faith.

The resolution also seeks to draw attention to the culture of religious extremism and terrorism propagated by Saudi Arabia . Saudi Arabia’s General Presidency for Managing Research and Religious Fatwas conveyed in its “Document 20” message, which was distributed to mosques across the United States: “It is not right for a Muslim to support the unbelievers…they are the enemy, do not trust them.”

Joseph K. Grieboski, President of the Institute on Religion and Public Policy, remarked, “The religious extremism endorsed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its resulting terrorist actions cannot be ignored.” Having extensively collaborated with Congresswoman Ros-Lehtinen in drafting the resolution, Mr. Grieboski continued, “We have a responsibility to actively pursue measures that force Saudi Arabia to acknowledge the atrocious and prejudiced actions carried out by their state institutions.”

The Saudi divestment resolution is in conjunction with legislation that the Institute on Religion and Public Policy has helped to introduce in several states, requiring divestment of state funds from Saudi Arabia .