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Berkeley should divest from Saudi Arabia

- Rachel Schorr
Friday May 17, 2002

To the Editor: 

The Following are six excellent reasons why Berkeley City Council should vote to divest the city’s interests from Saudi Arabia: 

1. Saudi Arabia and other members of the Arab League still support the slave trade in the Sudan. Today there are between 600,000 and 1 million black slaves from Sudan, who have either been taken to the north of that country to work as domestics, or sold in other Arab countries. 

2. In Saudi Arabia and Iran, Christians and Bahais are punished for displaying crosses, jailed for praying in public, and in some cases punished by death for not complying with religious tenants. 

3. Women in Saudi Arabia who walk unaccompanied, or are in the company of men who are neither their husbands nor close relatives, are at risk of arrest on suspicion of prostitution or other "moral" offenses. 

4. Members of the Shi’a Muslim community in Saudi Arabia suffer systematic political, social, cultural as well as religious discrimination. 

5. Saudis are financially supporting the families of suicide bombers who indiscriminately kill civilians; thus they are supporting terrorism. 

6. The fact is that Osama Bin Laden and 15 of the Sept. 11 hijackers were of Saudi origin, and Saudi Arabia supported the Taliban government in Afghanistan. 

I hope the Berkeley City Council will consider these relevant points regarding the Mideast situation as they write their latest divestment resolution. 

- Rachel Schorr