As terrorism metastasizes across the world, Saudi Arabia has gone above and beyond to address the true threat to global stability: atheists. The premier patron of fundamentalist Wahhabist ideology, the same country that produced and exported Osama Bin Laden, now plans on fighting terrorism by cracking down on “political dissidents,” namely atheists and “apostates.”
Independent reports (emphasis added):
In a string of royal decrees and an overarching new piece of legislation to deal with terrorism generally, the Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could ‘harm public order’…
To that end, King Abdullah issued Royal Decree 44, which criminalises ‘participating in hostilities outside the kingdom’ with prison sentences of between three and 20 years, Human Rights Watch said…
Article one of the new provisions defines terrorism as “calling for atheist thought in any form, or calling into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.”
Despite his country’s record of executions and resurrecting medieval-style torture methods, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador in Geneva, Faisal Trad, was elected Chair of the UN Human Rights Council, which is assigned the noble task of identifying human rights abuses. Saudi Arabia, of all countries, sits at the head of the UN Human Rights Council. The United Nations has muddied the waters; its feigned moral outrage at Israel and other democratic states is a farce.
Saudi Arabia’s crimes against humanity read like an unending book of horror.
According to rights’ groups, Saudi Arabia executed around 90 people in 2014, a figure just short of China and Iran. This year alone, Human Rights Watch reports that the Saudi jurists have sanctioned the execution of over 100 people. Nearly half of the sentences were carried out for petty crimes, such as drug offenses. With a decades-long pattern of abuse, Saudi Arabia is the worst offender in a region rife with offense; Amnesty International condemned the country as “one of the most prolific executioners in the world,” citing nearly 2,200 executions from 1985 to 2015.
Saudi Arabia’s latest assault against atheists puts the case of flogged Saudi blogger Raif Badawi in stark relief. The case of the poet sentenced to death for “apostasy” is part of a larger project of silencing dissent and criticism against Islam, through Draconian measures.
The jailed Saudi Blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for the alleged crime of “apostasy” and “insulting Islam” by his country’s highest courts. Badawi deeply offended Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabist clerics with the slight of a keyboard stroke, espousing free thought, liberalism and hints of atheism on his blog, entitled “Free Saudi Liberals.”
Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, a true liberal in every sense of the word, has galvanized international support to free her husband’s unjust detainment. In a powerful editorial for the Huffington Post, Ensaf writes, “As we speak, he is locked inside a small cell in a remote prison in Saudi Arabia; a country where censorship prevails. A country, my country, which views women as second class citizens…A country where the young are choking in a whisper that should be a scream.” Ensaf critiques the grotesque and yet logical consequences of suppressing free speech to “protect” the sensitivities and feelings of a religion, or as the American Left has euphemistically (and quite patronizingly) put it, a “community”:
My husband has been accused of “insulting Islam.”
Imagine a thousand lashes.
A thousand lashes. For who? For what purpose?
A thousand lashes for a blog?
This notion of “insult” can exist only within the hearts of the broken, those filled with hatred, and in an entrenched system of dogmatism that remains indifferent to what is humane and instead upholds the rigid and unreasoned principles of Saudi law. My husband wrote only what would be discussed here, at a table, around a glass of wine, with friends or opponents, always in peace and respect.