Bolsonaro never tires of repeating that if Lula wins the elections, he will close churches and persecute Christians. These infamies have already been denied dozens of times. The most evident proof that Lula defends religious freedom is that he himself sanctioned Law No. 10,825, of December 22, 2003, known as the Law of Religious Freedom, an instrument that guarantees the free establishment of religious organizations in the country, prohibiting the State to prevent its creation. Religious freedom itself is already guaranteed by the Federal Constitution of 1988 and does not depend on the president of the republic.
But let’s get down to business. Bolsonaro lies about Lula while maintaining sinister relations with the Saudi Arabian dictator Mohammed Bin Salman, who actually persecutes Christians in his country.
Saudi Arabia is an absolutist monarchy (absolute power of the king, without the control or mediation of a parliament) located in the Arabian Peninsula, Middle East. In Saudi Arabia, 97% of the population is Muslim, which in itself is not a problem. The big issue is that in Saudi Arabia there is no religious freedom, especially for Christians. Conversion from Islam to Christianity is prohibited by law and constitutes the crime of “apostasy”, which can be punished with the death penalty. Christians in Saudi Arabia are mainly Asian immigrants and expatriate workers. These people cannot freely express their faith, not even within their own homes, which are frequently inspected by the country’s religious police (yes, that’s what you read, there is a religious police in Saudi Arabia). In the face of any sign of cult or proselytism, the person can be expelled from the country (the last Christian pastor was expelled in 1985). Celebrations of Ramadan, a Muslim holiday, are mandatory for foreign Christian workers, while Christmas and Easter are prohibited.
Well, who governs this country and what is his relationship with Bolsonaro? The country’s de facto ruler is Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, son of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who suffers from Alzheimer’s and is in fact away from governance duties. After a few reformist measures at the beginning of his term, Prince Mohammad soon revealed his true dictatorial face and established a government marked by persecution and terror against Christians, women and opponents in general. Perhaps you remember the episode in which Prince Mohammad was accused of ordering the murder of opposition journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018 during a visit by the journalist to the Saudi consulate in Turkey to resolve documentation issues. Khashoggi was killed and hacked to death by 15 consulate security guards and his body disposed of in suitcases. The Saudi government even admitted that the journalist was killed in the consulate “during a struggle”, but never explained the dismemberment or disposal of the body in suitcases.
On a visit to Saudi Arabia in October 2019, Bolsonaro not only met with the prince (which would be inevitable and understandable on a state visit), but said that there was a “certain affinity” between them and that anyone would like to spend a time together. afternoon with the prince, “especially the women”. Bolsonaro’s relations with the dictator are not limited to rhetoric, although rhetoric, in this case, is very important. Saudi Arabia is Brazil’s main trading partner in the Middle East, with investments in infrastructure, defense, energy, agribusiness and (very important!) concessions and privatizations.
Bolsonaro fills his mouth to talk about Nicaragua, but he never criticized Prince Mohammad for his persecution of Christians in Saudi Arabia and even invited him to visit Brazil in February this year, but that never happened.
Again, accusations of pedophilia
The icing on the cake of this whole story is that Prince Mohammad (guess what) is also accused of pedophilia. In March 2020, British justice ruled on the request for divorce from the princess of the United Arab Emirates, Haya Bint Al-Hussein, from her husband, the emir of Dubai Mohammed Al Maktoum. Haya Bint Al-Hussein fled the United Arab Emirates in 2019 and filed for divorce in British court. She claims that among the main reasons for her flight from the United Arab Emirates was the agreement between the emir Al Maktoum and Mohammad bin Salman to hand over the couple’s daughter, Princess Jalila, 11, in marriage to the prince. Terrified that her 11-year-old daughter would marry a 34-year-old man, Haya fled the UAE and took refuge in England, where the affair came to light.
These are the kind of people praised by Bolsonaro around the world and with whom he has “a certain affinity”, “shares certain values”, is a “brother” and other atrocities.
Finally, let us just comment that the persecution of Christians is not new for Bolsonaro because Bolsonarism already does this here in Brazil, only it is against Christians who oppose his policy of death and hatred. The episode in Aparecida, when the priest who said mass in commemoration of the day of Our Lady of Aparecida was booed when he spoke against the “dragon of hunger and hatred” should alert us to the type of “religious freedom” defended by Bolsonaro. Anyone who didn’t feel nauseous when seeing, at the same event, the Bolsonarist pointing to the beer mug with Bolsonaro’s photo and saying: “This is my God” simply doesn’t have the stomach. And it doesn’t stop there: he has the persecution against Father Julio Lancellotti and his works of charity and human solidarity, not to mention the open demonization of religions of African origin. This is Bolsonaro’s true relationship with religious freedom. This, too, is what we must avoid.
In English: Bolsonaro’s friend, dictator persecutes Christians in Saudi Arabia