A leading rights group says some state religious scholars and institutions in Saudi Arabia incite hatred and discrimination against religious minorities, including the country's Shia Muslim minority.
A report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW) titled 'They are not our brothers: Hate Speech by Saudi Officials', released on Tuesday, says Saudi Arabia has permitted government-appointed religious scholars to refer to religious minorities in "derogatory terms or demonise them in official documents and religious rulings" that influence government decision-making.
"Saudi Arabia has relentlessly promoted a reform narrative in recent years, yet it allows government-affiliated clerics and textbooks to openly demonise religious minorities such as Shia," Sarah Leah Whitson, a Middle East director at HRW, said.
The report highlights one incident where a member of Saudi Arabia's Council of Senior Religious Scholars, the country's highest religious body, replied in a public meeting to a question about Shia Muslims by saying that "they are not our brothers ... rather they are brothers of Satan ...".
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