Love hurts


Issue: "Year in Review 2004," Jan. 1, 2005

The State Department named Saudi Arabia one of the world's worst religious persecutors in September, adding it to a list that has long included the likes of Sudan, North Korea, and Iran-but not a key ally. Human-rights advocates have been calling for the designation for years. What changed this time? Growing enlightenment over the Saudis' export of radical Islam and how it is feeding terrorism. But in the end Saudi persecution of non-Muslims was not the tipping point; rather, it was Sunni Muslim discrimination against other Muslim sects. Although Saudi Arabia qualifies for sanctions, it is unlikely that Washington will impose them. But the shift signifies how seriously the Bush administration regards freedom in the Middle East.

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