Identity, Equality, Unity
Dear Fellow Americans:
We request your firm support as we stand in solidarity with victims of terrorism, oppression, and tyranny. As Americans and Muslims, we recognize the threat that we face, and it is our responsibility to denounce these acts alongside you. This phenomenon affects us all, Muslim and non-Muslim, American and non-American. We are here to raise awareness about a danger than is actively brewing in one of our ally states, Saudi Arabia, a country that freely and unabashedly tolerates fanatical views and gives ideological and financial support to terrorist groups worldwide. We are asking for an end to the hatred that has spilled onto our soil and an end to violence in the Muslim world. As recent as late February 2009, two women were stabbed to death by Saudi police for paying their respects at the Jannat al-Baqee gravesite in Medina, Saudi Arabia, where many important personalities are buried, including the Prophet Muhammad’s family members.
Today we demand the full restoration of Jannat al-Baqee, as it marks the demolition of the gravesite on April 21, 1925 which sparked a concerted campaign of oppression against the Shi’a Muslim minority of Saudi Arabia. The demolition was incited by the belief that pilgrimage to and veneration of the Prophet Muhammad and his family is forbidden, as understood by the dominant religious tradition in the country, known as Wahhabism. This deviant interpretation of Islam is imposed on the citizens of Saudi Arabia, including minorities that are systematically repressed due to their religious beliefs. This dogmatic following is also responsible for the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the UK train bombings in 2005, and the destruction of the al-Askarriya mosque in Samarra, Iraq.
Why Jannat al-Baqee?
Jannat al-Baqee is a physical representation of the countless atrocities that can be attributed to the Saudi government’s negligence, and its restoration will signify steps towards restoring the dignity and humanity that Islam and civilized society so strongly enjoin.
We seek the full restoration of Jannat al-Baqee and safety and security for all pilgrims who travel to Saudi Arabia in the interest of religious freedom and security for American citizens.
Human Rights Violations at the Hands of Saudi Arabia:
• Women in Saudi Arabia are represented less in political, social, and scientific fields thanwomen in any other Arab or Muslim country. Women were barred from participating in the only municipal elections in the history of the Saudi state in 2005 and are prohibited from studying subjects such as chemistry and biology, and are forbidden to drive.
• The Saudi government discourages the public practice of any religion other than the state-sanctioned interpretation of Wahhabism, a corrupt ideology that endorses the systematic repression of adherents of other faith backgrounds, even other Muslims, and label them as “infidels.”
• Saudi Arabia remains the world’s leading source of financial and ideological support for al-Qaida, the Taliban, and other extremist Wahhabi groups. Saudi Arabia houses some of the most extreme madrassas, or schools, which have produced some of the most heinous terrorists, including almost all of the 9/11 hijackers.
• Foreign nationals are denied basic human rights and due process while in Saudi:”‘The process by which the death penalty is imposed and carried out is harsh, largely secretive and grossly unfair. Judges, all men, have wide discretion and can hand down death sentences for vaguely-worded and non-violent offences,’ said Malcolm Smart…Execution is usually by beheading, generally in public.”i Who We Are: Al-Baqee is a coalition of concerned American Muslims who advance the understanding of Islam and reject acts of terrorism.