Religion

#FreeRaif: Saudis Attack Freedom of Religion

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Sorta transcript:

Thank god it’s Friday, right? And by “god” I mean “Allah” and by “thank” I mean “fuck” because starting in January 2015, Saudi Arabia sentenced Raif Badawi to receive 50 lashes every Friday for 20 weeks because he set up a website that included criticism of religious figures.

The “good” news is that after the first lashing in January, Saudi Arabian officials have postponed every Friday’s lashings since. Human rights organization Amnesty International suspects that the reason for this is because they’re hoping the people calling for Raif’s release will eventually stop paying attention without the stimulus of seeing Raif beaten every week for exercising his freedom of expression with a website called Free Saudi Liberals, of all things.

And according to Bawadi’s wife, who is safe in Canada with their children at the moment, there’s also talk of a possible retrial, which would be the 2nd time he’s been resentenced. In this case, the Saudis may be seeking the death penalty for apostasy.

You can help: Amnesty is calling on everyone to petition the king calling for Raif’s release. Their hope is that the Saudis will realize that this issue continues to be in the international spotlight, and they can’t just quietly wait until we’re all not looking to behead the infidel.

The Saudi government’s interest in how they’re seen internationally shows in the blatant hypocrisy they displayed when publicly condemning the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris, which was an attack on freedom of expression and, if they follow through with the threat to behead Raif, is pretty much equal to what they’re doing.

So let them know that we’re still watching, and will continue watching until they release Raif and catch up to the 21st century’s ideals of protecting freedom of expression.

And while you’re at it, maybe let them know that it’s also shitty that they’re punishing two rape victims with 200 lashes and six months in jail for the crime of being raped. So, you know, Saudi Arabia. Aren’t you glad they’re such a great ally of the US?

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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4 Comments

  1. Politicians have quite a bit of honor. And by ‘honor’, I mean, they don’t care what they do so much as they care what they do while you’re watching.

    Two things to always remember when dealing with the MENA:

    Saudi Arabia (and indeed nearly every Arab state, as well as Gaza and the WB) is in no way a democracy. So, always remember, their leadership doesn’t represent the people.
    One of the worst things for Arabs is Arab leadership. This goes back to the aforementioned honor issue. When you control the media, you can essentially create your own little bubble of reality for your citizens.

    1. Sadly, I’ve met people in academia and on Tumblr who would sincerely agree with what you just typed ironically, including a dude who can’t understand why I characterized Jordan’s Queen Noor as privileged and in no way representative of the average Jordanian woman. (You know, besides the whole part about her being a queen and all.)

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