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  Updated: October 05, 2005

Iraq official hits out at Riyadh again, urges justice with Saudi Shias

By: Ismail Zabeeh

BAGHDAD, Iraq: Iraq’s Minister for Interior Affairs Bayan Jabor Solagh has launched a fresh attack on Saudi Arabia for what he called its interference in Iraqi affairs.

In an interview aired on Iraq's Al-Furat Television on Tuesday, Solagh said he would be forced to lay bare more facts if Saudi Arabia continued its interference, stressing on what he called human rights violations in the kingdom and the kingdom's treatment of six million Shias as third-class citizens.

"(The Saudis should) create a democratic system and give freedoms, and not grant rights in just dribs and drabs," Solagh was quoted by Reuters as saying in the interview. "We call for democracy and freedom in all the Arab nation."

Jabor repeated his earlier comments, saying: "We were surprised by this unjustified attack ... which they made instead of acting to solve the problem of the Shias in Saudi Arabia who are considered second class citizens".

He also referred to Saudi Arabia's small Ismaili Shia community as receiving "fourth class" treatment. Most of Saudi Arabia's Shias lives in the oil-rich Eastern Province, close to Iraq.

Shias in Saudi Arabia complain of being marginalized by the government.

Saudi Foreign Minister in a visit to Washington expressed his concern over growing Shia power in Iraq.

Shias in Saudi Arabia seek rights

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia: Encouraged by their new monarch's pledge to serve all subjects fairly, Saudi Shias have petitioned King Abdullah with pleas for prisoner releases and equal opportunities.

  "Knowledge is better than wealth because it protects you while you have to guard wealth. it decreases if you keep on spending it but the more you make use of knowledge ,the more it increases . what you get through wealth disappears as soon as wealth disappears but what you achieve through knowledge will remain even after you."MORE ..  


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