Outrage over Saudi “sorcery” beheading

A CALL to end executions in Saudi Arabia has been made by Amnesty International after a woman was beheaded for “witchcraft and sorcery”.

The country’s Interior Ministry, according to this report, confirmed that Amina bint Abdul Halim bin Salem Nasser, a Saudi Arabian national, was executed on Monday in the northern province of al-Jawf. It gave no further details of the charges against her.

Said Philip Luther Amnesty International’s interim Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme:

The charges of ‘witchcraft and sorcery’ are not defined as crimes in Saudi Arabia and to use them to subject someone to the cruel and extreme penalty of execution is truly appalling. While we don’t know the details of the acts which the authorities accused Amina of committing, the charge of sorcery has often been used in Saudi Arabia to punish people, generally after unfair trials, for exercising their right to freedom of speech or religion.

The execution is the second of its kind in recent months. In September a Sudanese national was beheaded in the Saudi Arabian city of Medina after being convicted on “sorcery” charges. He had allegedly confessed after being tortured and was tried without a lawyer.

The number of executions in Saudi Arabia has almost tripled this year. So far at least 79 people – including five women – have been executed there, compared to at least 27 in 2010.

Luther said:

The huge rise in the number of executions in Saudi Arabia is deeply disturbing. We regularly call on the Saudi Arabian authorities to impose a moratorium with a view to abolishing the death penalty. Where the death penalty is used, under international law it should only be applied to the most serious crimes.

Saudi Arabia applies the death penalty to a wide range of offences ranging from murder and rape to blasphemy, apostasy, sorcery, adultery and drugs-related offences.

In December 2010, Saudi Arabia was one of a minority of states voting against a UN General Assembly resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on executions.

An Indonesian policewoman, with lipstick and jacket tastefully coordinated, takes scissors to the hair of a 'deviant' punk rocker. (AFP: Chaideer Mahyuddin )

I guess we should be grateful that in Indonesia they are not using Islamic law to remove heads – just hair … for the moment.

Sharia police, according to ABC News,  have “morally rehabilitated” more than 60 young punk rock fans in Aceh province on Sumatra island, saying the youths were bad for the province’s image.

After they were arrested at a punk rock concert in Banda Aceh last Saturday, 59 male and five female punk rock fans were forced to have their hair cut, bathe in a lake, change clothes … and pray.

Banda Aceh deputy mayor Illiza Sa’aduddin Djamal, who ordered the arrests, said:

We feared that the Islamic sharia law implemented in this province will be tainted by their activities. We hope that by sending them to rehabilitation they will eventually repent.

Hundreds of Indonesian punk fans came from around the country to attend the concert, organised to raise money for orphans.

Police claimed the raid was executed to deter the youths from “deviant” behaviour. Said Aceh police chief Iskandar Hasan:

They never showered, they lived on the street, never performed religious prayers. We need to fix them so they will behave properly and morally. They need harsh treatment to change their mental behaviour.

A local rights activist, Evi Narti Zain, said the arrests breached human rights.

What the police have done is totally bizarre. Being a punk is just a lifestyle. They exist all over the world and they don’t break any rules or harm other people.

Hasan denied the accusation, claiming the rehabilitation programme was merely:

An orientation into normal Indonesian society.

Hat tip: Remigius and M A Chohan (beheading report) and Name Withheld (Indonesian report)


43 responses to “Outrage over Saudi “sorcery” beheading”

  1. Normand says:

    What can we say about that ****ing religion that has not been said yet!!During the cold war we feared communism but now what we fear is worse because it is based on fear and superstitions and we are dealing with people who live in the Middle Ages!!!

  2. ZombieHunter says:

    I also e mailled in the story about the indonesian punks but it looks like smoebody beat me to it (mine was linked from the BBC website)

    I suppose clamping down on the punk rock scene in indonesia has more to do with the fact that regimes like the one their are shitting themselves because of the arab uprising and by shaving these punks all they’ve done is create a bunch of skinheads.

    As for saudi arabia well they’re also long overdue an uprising and the increase in executions there is probably the house of saud’s desperate attempt to try and stay in control.

  3. AgentCormac says:

    “Police claimed the raid was executed to deter the youths from “deviant” behaviour.”

    Deviant behaviour? Deviant feckin’ behaviour!!!? If you really want to see deviant behaviour go to church, you morons!

    That’s where they worship an invisible, non-existent freak who likes to murder people. That’s where they make people go down on their knees every week and beg for forgiveness. That’s where they actually eat the body of some long-dead Middle-Eastern revolutionary. That’s where they drink his blood. That’s where they take money off the poor so they can live in the lap of luxury themselves. That’s where they tell you will burn in eternal hellfire f you ignore or disobey any of the above.

    And, of course, that’s where they rape children.


  4. Don says:

    Re: Banda Acheh, there are proably many western conservatives nodding approval. Hair-cuts and boot camp floats a lot of people’s boats.

    Re: Saudi. Fuck. Sorcery? At what level are executions authorised, surely it was reviewed by someone who knew what century it is? I have no idea about the internal politics of KSA but trying to supress dissent by using witchfinders sounds desperate.

  5. john c says:

    My son looks like one of them punks, i thouroughly sympathise with the haircut police!

  6. AngieRS says:

    Then you need your arse kicked, john c

  7. Anonymous says:

    Apparently Nasser offered competing quackery, which was a threat

    The London-based al-Hayat newspaper, citing the chief of the religious police who arrested the woman after a report from a female investigator, claims Nasser was tricking people into paying $800 per session to have their illnesses cured.

  8. tony e says:

    Oh, for that day when the oil runs out and our spineless politicians grow a set of ball and speak out against these goat-fucking scum. Sadly, until that day, we will have to listen to them praise (read kiss ass) the religion of peace.

    No surprise, as usual, the deafening silence from the ‘moderates.’

    Between the west’s politicians and the ‘moderate muslims’ the people of Saudi Arabia haven’t a chance.

  9. Graham Martin-Royle says:

    Sorcery & witchcraft, can’t have people believing in nonsense like that now can we? No no, get them on their knees worshipping something real. FFS.

    As for Indonesia, the police chief says that he wants the punks fixed so that they behave properly and morally, i.e., not attending a concert to raise more for orphans. Yeah, fuck the orphans, god is getting lonely and needs worshipping.

    These people are sick!

  10. john c says:

    Angie, he comes home from his mates with bugs in it, hence, not like long hair ,not the punk thing.

  11. AngieRS says:

    Fair enough

  12. No surprise that Amnesty International has only an “interim” Director of the Middle East and North Africa.

    I imagine anyone would be kept fairly busy in that role and that stress levels would be higher than for the Director of…well…anywhere else.

  13. gsw says:

    “An orientation into normal Indonesian society.”

    Yet asking (wo)men nicely to show their faces when entering a bank causes a screaming rage of ‘offence’ and accusations of islamophobia.

    Hypocrisy pure.

  14. stargraves says:

    I remember the same thing happening in the US in the late 80’s – the enforced hair cuts I mean, not the beheadings!

    In the movie The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years – the PMRC (Parents Music Resource Centre) supported enforced de-metallization of their teenage kids. They’d be taken to gatherings by their parents – where they’d have their albums destroyed, spiked wrisbands and bullet belts confiscated, their long hair cut short, their piercings removed etc.

    Then they were dressed in dork outfits and forced to pray.

    I laughed lots at the time. Being a metaller myself – I was seen as a rebel for some reason at school – despite being relatively conformist and top of the class in half a dozen subjects!

    Thankfully Blackie Lawless – unlikely American intellectual from the band WASP – sued the PMRC pretty much out of existence – for breaching copyright when they reproducing the lyrics to his song “Animal (F**k like a beast)” in one of their publications without permission. :o)

  15. The Woggler says:

    It really was God’s finest joke, giving all that oil to a bunch of brain-fucked madmen.

  16. ZombieHunter says:

    @ Stargreaves

    I haven’t seen that decline of western civilisation movie yet (only clips) but have you seen metal a headbangers journey or global metal??

  17. stargraves says:

    @Zombie Yeah – A headbangers Journey is OK – I haven’t watched all of Global Metal. (I think there’s a 2nd one too already!) The Anvil movie is pretty awesome also.

    Decline is OK. Some proper nobhead interviewees on it – like Gene Simmons and Dave Mustaine, but the film itself is an entertaining watch, and a fascinating glimpse into the kind of religiot paranoia in which fundie Americans are often wallowing.

    The cod psychology of analysing something as arbitrary as “taste” though, provides never ending amusement to me.

  18. ZombieHunter says:

    I’m watching decline right now on youtube as we speak, there’s too much poodle rock shit in here for my liking 😛

    I like global metal better than headbangers journey, i think global metal was more eye opening and educational.

  19. tony e says:


    Your post reminded me of the witty and intelligent reply from Frank Zappa at the senate hearing on the PMRC. From Elvis onwards the religious of America have accused music artists of trying to corrupt their kids, not once realising that religion does much more damage to a persons brain.

    Here is clip 1 of 3.

  20. ZombieHunter says:

    The best part of the PMRC hearings was when Dee snider tore them all a new one 😀

    I’m not a fan of tiwsted sister or any of that glam stuff but the man deserves to be rewarded with beer and gold for that

  21. barriejohn says:

    “Witchcraft” is right up there alongside “blasphemy” in the catalogue of impossible crimes. As others have said, didn’t this kind of thinking die out in the Middle Ages?

  22. Har Davids says:

    How deviant: a concert organised to raise money for orphans, who might up as punks too. Anyone attending such a venue should be forced into ‘normalcy’. Punk is definitely not my thing, but I don’t see much harm in it, unlike some rug-chewers.

    As for Saudi Arabia: time for regime change is overdue.

  23. remigius says:

    @Normand & barriejohn

    …based on fear and superstitions and we are dealing with people who live in the Middle Ages!!! &

    …didn’t this kind of thinking die out in the Middle Ages?

    Er no. The last convictions for witchcraft in the UK were in 1944 when Helen Duncan was convicted and sent to prison under s.4 Witchcraft Act 1735. Jane Rebecca Yorke was similarly convicted and bound over.

    The Act was repealed a year later.

  24. remigius says:


    Actually the Witchcraft Act 1735 was repealed in 1951. Except in Israel(!) where it is still in force due to the British Mandate in Palestine ending before the Act was repealed.


  25. Mike Guillen says:

    whats next, muslim inquisition?

  26. AgentCormac says:

    Nobody expects the muslim inquisition!

  27. barriejohn says:

    Just a figure of speech, Remigius! After all, when was the law against blasphemyrepealed in this country?

  28. remigius says:

    May 8th 2008.

  29. remigius says:

    Thou ’tis still an offence in Scotland & Northern Ireland.

  30. barriejohn says:

    Remigius: I was reading this earlier today, following a link from the NSS What The Papers Say section. Unfortunately it is an anti-Islamic site, but that doesn’t alter the facts.

  31. remigius says:

    barriejohn. It doesn’t mean anything. UN resolutions are not legally binding on member states, unless enacted by the Security Council under Ch VII’ which doesn’t apply in this case because it’s a General Assembly resolution.

    This is just the moon-worshippers making a bit of a fuss and Obama doing a diplomatic yeah whatever.

  32. remigius says:

    But at least they still take blasphemy seriously in Pakistan.

  33. barriejohn says:

    Remigius: I’m not peddling the Spencer/Geller line that the Americans are going to wake up one morning to find that they are living under sharia law (as we do now in Eurabia of course!). My point is that the Muslims are going to keep up pressure for blasphemy laws etc wherever they can, as your link demonstrates. One would at one time have hoped for better from Pakistan and other far-eastern countries, who are actually becoming more extreme and restrictive – as seems the way with religion generally. The whole world appears to be going in the wrong direction! In Africa, the fundamentalist lurch in the churches is almost certainly a result of the rise of Islam, and the fear that if they do not match it in intensity, they will lose worshippers to that faith. I read this this morning and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry:

  34. remigius says:

    barriejohn. Yeah, that should work. Who’d have thought a fuckwit thugocracy like Ghana would eventually find a cure for gay?

  35. barriejohn says:

    Especially when there’s already a much more effective treatment, Remigius:

    (The reason that I can’t really find it funny.)

    They think WE’RE the stupid ones as well!

  36. jay says:

    “Thankfully Blackie Lawless – unlikely American intellectual from the band WASP – sued the PMRC pretty much out of existence – for breaching copyright when they reproducing the lyrics to his song “Animal (F**k like a beast)” in one of their publications without permission.”

    Twisting copyright law to achieve censorship (ala Scientology). Not a good thing

  37. DicePlayGod says:

    “An orientation into normal Indonesian society.”

    Which is precisely the problem, and why the society needs to get away from Islam.

  38. Trevor blake says:

    I must point out one detail lacking in the Amnesty report: there is no such thing as sorcery. There is a belief in sorcery, but no sorcery.

  39. Angela_K says:

    OT. Heard on the wireless this morning that Christopher Hitchens has died. Another great thinker and writer gone. No doubt the religious idiots will be crowing over this.

  40. barriejohn says:

    I sent that to Barry, Angela, in case he hadn’t seen it already. It must be the story of the day, surely?

  41. elainek123 says:

    I am sick of hearing about the evil that countries get away with. We talk about it, the governments talk about it, Amnesty talks about it, condems it but still we have more talk, no action, just when will we be talking about when these attrocities were in the past. No I expect more talk, more talk.

  42. Newspaniard says:

    I wonder if the money raised for the orphans actually arrived at its destination or was “confiscated” as evidence?