Saudi Arabia’s call to the UN to focus on “eliminating Islamophobia” as an outcome of tackling online racism and xenophobia sets a potentially dangerous precedent – at a level of global policy – by attempting to define as a fait accompli that “Islamophobia” is a type of racial discrimination, according to the Barnabas Fund.

While undoubtedly racism and prejudice are to be found on the internet, this seems a disingenuous call from the closed sharia kingdom, which promotes its own strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam worldwide, where Christians and Jews are presented as enemies in school textbooks, and jihad is encouraged as a means of spreading Islam. It remains a capital offence for a Muslim to convert to Christianity in Saudi Arabia.

The concept of conflating any criticism of Islamist orthodoxy with racism could potentially lead to serious and repressive consequences worldwide, especially for Christian converts from Islam, should the UN be found willing to take up the Saudi stated cause to “prohibit racial discrimination in all its forms”, as promoted under the kingdom’s “Vision2030” framework.

Barnabas Fund