Don’t dare think in Saudi Arabia.
And don’t even dream of having an opinion.
This AP report is a pretty good indication of what would happen there to The Accidental Theologist:
The founder of a liberal Web site has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes after angering Islamic authorities in Saudi Arabia, the newspaper Al Wattan reported Tuesday. The site created by Raif Badawi urged Saudis to share opinions about the role of religion in the country, which follows a strict form of Islam. According to Al Wattan, a judge in the Red Sea port of Jidda imposed the sentences but dropped charges of apostasy, which could have brought a death sentence.
Here’s an earlier report from Amnesty International on his case:
Raif Badawi, founder of a website for political and social debate, “Saudi Arabian Liberals”, has been detained since 17 June 2012 in a prison in Briman, in Jeddah. He was charged with “setting up a website that undermines public security” and ridiculing Islamic religious figures. His trial began in June 2012 in the District Court in Jeddah, and was marred by irregularities. According to his lawyer, the original trial judge was replaced by a judge who had advocated that Raif Badawi be punished for “apostasy”. His lawyer contested the judge’s impartiality in the case.
The charges against Raif Badawi relate to a number of articles he has written, including one about Valentine’s Day – the celebration of which is prohibited in Saudi Arabia. He was accused of ridiculing Saudi Arabia’s Commission on the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (also known as the religious police) in the conclusion of his article. The charges against him also mention his failure to remove articles by other people on his website, including one insinuating that the al-Imam Mohamed ibn Saud University had become “a den for terrorists”. On 17 December, the District Court in Jeddah referred the case to the General Court in Jeddah, recommending that he should be tried for “apostasy”. On 22 December the General Court in Jeddah had Raif Badawi sign documents to enable his trial for “apostasy” to proceed.
On 21 January the General Court sent the case back to the District Court stating that they did not have jurisdiction to review his case and that they had found that he had not insulted Islam and therefore it did not amount to an “apostasy” charge. The general prosecutor however is still insisting that Raif Badawi be tried for apostasy. The case is currently before an appeal court to determine whether the case should be heard by the District Court in Jeddah or another tribunal, in particular the General Court in Jeddah, to which it was previously referred.
Amnesty International considers Raif Badawi to be a prisoner of conscience. Act now to call on the authorities for his immediate and unconditional release.
It is likely that 600 lashes WILL amount to a death sentence. The damage is equivalent to a third degree burn.
I would phrase it differently as to your words ‘ follow strict form of Islam’ to a ‘twisted’ form of Islam. I believe one would find even more ridiculous reasons for having put people in prisons if one did some investigation about Saudi jails.
I am not sure what makes me more mad; the hypocrisy of western democracies for their tacit approval of their puppets’ disregard of human rights, or people not standing up for themselves in those countries. Something’s got to change in the world. It is coming……albeit slowly.
Not my words, by the way — the AP’s words.
Re: “follow strict form of Islam”: Thank you, Lesley, for clarifying the source (with which you introduce the excerpt). Sad, though, the AP would continue to make this mistake… like saying that the Snake Handler Cult is mainstream Christianity, or any other extreme and really idealogue versions of that revelatory Way.
As for Saudis… well, they’re bent on destroying Islam really, tearing Mecca apart, erecting an obscene clock tower to diminish the Holy Kaaba, exporting a fearful religion narrowed to an astonishing degree (that sadly too many accept as almost papal), and hollowing out the Prophet’s message and example, peace be upon him, though it in no way impinges on his blessed reality… and yes, those of us who express hearts and intellects freely are always endangered by totalitarianism.
Please check out
generalizing statement such as
“what happens when you want to think in #SaudiArabia” are not helpful
as just as this mans blog may of been taken out of context, so can a statement like this.
im not sure to what the extent of the other articles,
but valentines day and saudi arabia?
its almost like Mars and Oxygen
maybe but be rational.
im neither agreeing or disagreeing with the punishment on that matter but just yesterday i read this transcript about justice and judgementfrom the Qu’ran,
a problem even Prophet David or King David was confronted with
“But in this story, Dawūd ( عليه السلام rushed to judgment because he was taken by surprise. He rushed to judgment and passed a judgment immediately saying you’ve wronged your brother by asking him for that one sheep and immediately they disappeared and he realized, ‘I should not have rushed the judgment’. I should have calmed down first, understood the situation fully, asked both sides their opinion then I should’ve passed my verdict. The lesson I’m learning here is don’t rush to judgment. That’s what he made repentance for”
It is true that in todays islamophobic climate, simplyfying Islam in order to scapegoat is not a good idea—Yet, what is wrong IS WRONG and there is nothing complicated about that……….Whether it is Assange, Manning , Snowden or Badawi—–Using false justifications (of whatever kind) to criminalize just intentions/actions is wrong.
Isn’t 600 lashes pretty much a death sentence? Can he really survive that? Very sad….