Barbarism exposed:  Saudis are ‘dismayed’

Barbarism exposed: Saudis are ‘dismayed’

Following reports that a Saudi man is to be beheaded  for posting an online video of himself ripping up a Koran and beating the shredded ‘holy’ book with a shoe comes news that officials are ‘surprised’ and ‘dismayed’ by the way in which human rights violations in the kingdom are being highlighted in international media.

Officials, according to this report, are particularly upset by coverage of last year’s sentencing of liberal Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, above, to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for “insulting Islam”.

The first 50 of Badawi’s lashes were carried out in January, prompting strong criticism of the kingdom’s rights record in Western countries, including its laws on political and religious expression and the status of Saudi women.


Among the latest who criticised the Badawi’s  barbaric treatment was German vice-chancellor Sigmar Gabriel, above, who – ahead of a meeting with the Saudi King yesterday – described the punishment “unimaginable”.

German news agency DPA quoted Gabriel as saying:

The harshness of this sentence, especially the corporal punishment, is something unimaginable for us, and of course it weighs on our relations.

But Saudi Arabia hit back, saying in a statement that  it “expresses its intense surprise and dismay” over international criticism. The statement said that the kingdom:

Does not accept any interference in its internal affairs.

It added that its judiciary is impartial and independent, and pointed out that the kingdom’s constitution, based in Islamic law, ensures human rights.

Activist group Avaaz had organised a protest in front of Berlin’s Tegel airport before Gabriel’s departure on Saturday to the Saudi capital of Riyadh. Protesters handed Gabriel a petition urging him to help secure Badawi’s release and a letter from Badawi’s wife, who lives with their three children in Canada.

Human rights groups argue that the case against Badawi is part of a wider crackdown on freedom of speech and dissent in Saudi Arabia since the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings.

• The top picture shows protesters simulating a flogging in front of the Saudi embassy in Washington, DC, on January 15, 2015, during a demonstration against Badawi’s sentence. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty.

Hat tip: Trevor Blake (beheading report).

12 responses to “Barbarism exposed: Saudis are ‘dismayed’”

  1. Broga says:

    “the kingdom’s constitution, based in Islamic law, ensures human rights.” I think we need a new definition of human rights after that statement. Behaviour based on Islamic law is unlikely to ensure human rights. Particularly where women are concerned where abuse of human rights seems to be a way of life.

  2. gegsieline says:

    These acts are vote-winners in most parts of the muslim world. For us to try and understand the reasoning behind these punishments is futile.
    Again we see the inhuman savagery of religion parading itself as the beautification of an idea that will lead to the promised land. Cold blooded Murder dressed up as a signpost toward salvation, medieval moronic ideas about justice seen as wisdom, hallucinatory dreams deemed unquestionable by decree, peoples lives from cradle to grave having no more meaning than a footnote in a second rate novel, all for what? A pathetic yearning for father Christmas, the tooth fairy, or any other escape from reality.

  3. L.Long says:

    No Broga they do uphold human rights, it is just that the right you believe and the karan makes clear are very different. And as far as women are concerned well that is not a problem because no religion thinks women are human anyway.

  4. gegsieline says:

    In any theistic religion humans have no rights only duties.

  5. barriejohn says:

    A pathetic yearning for father Christmas, the tooth fairy, or any other escape from reality.

    And “eternal life”! The fact is that the religious are totally unable to deal with their mortality, and need this fantasy about “eternity” to give their lives meaning. If religion were merely a crutch used by the weakminded to help them deal with “the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” then I might have some sympathy, but it is all this twaddle about sin, forgiveness, heaven and hell that is so ridiculous and so very dangerous. As a young Christian I was taught the little ditty: “Only one life, ’twill soon be past; only what’s done for God will last.” It’s nonsense, and it screws up people’s lives.

  6. AgentCormac says:

    In actual fact things could be getting worse for Raif Badawi. According to multiple sources (one of them below) he could now be facing the death sentence.

    BTW, Saudi authorities saying the kingdom ‘Does not accept any interference in its internal affairs. is a close as you get to saying ‘Fuck off, this is a totalitarian regime’. But what is the response of our western governments? Fly the flag at half mast as a mark of respect when the head of that totalitarian regime dies. Tony Blair had the gall to say that he ‘admired King Abdullah greatly’ as he was, apparently, ‘a patient and skilful moderniser of his country leading it step by step into the future’. He also paid tribute to the monarch’s advocacy of ‘inter-faith relations, his embracing of education for women, and his investment in renewable energy.’ Meanwhile, our beloved prime minister, David Cameron, said the king would be remembered for his ‘commitment to peace and for strengthening understanding between faiths’. I now want to throw up!

    (Apologies, far too many quotes to add links to them all.)

  7. Broga says:

    @barriejohn: As a child I was lightly indoctrinated but I still was taught to say this every night: “If I should die before I wake/I pray the Lord my soul to take.” No idea what it meant and no one explained it.

    I agree, following discussions with believers, with your comment: “The fact is that the religious are totally unable to deal with their mortality.” They seem to adopt either of two approaches. First, they assume they are going to heaven and block all thought, with I assume unconscious stress, and leave it at that. Second, They go to church, pray, read the bible and go through a variety of religious observances which they think will get them to heaven. They don’t open themselves to thinking about what they are doing.

    The last Christian funeral I went to there was an amazing amount of fantasy and wishful thinking. Having seen the man cremated and his ashes, I suppose they were his but you can’t be sure, buried we had a stroll in the sunshine outside the church. They were talking as if the dear departed (a relative of whom I was fond) was listening to us and watching us. As an atheist I seemed to be the only one who wondered what organs he was using to use to watch and listen.

  8. Michael Glass says:

    The fact that Saudi Arabia has complained about the condemnation it has received demonstrates that the protests have hit home.

    They have reason to be concerned. The excesses of the zealots help to trash Islam in the eyes of the public. Meanwhile, scholars have begun to point out that the zealots’ actions can be justified from a literal reading of the Koran and the traditions of Muhammad and this helps to trash Islam in the eyes of other scholars.

    Others are quick to point out that the same criticism applies to the Bible and much of Christian history, so Christianity is tarred with the same brush.

    The effect of this can be seen in the declining support for religion in most Western nations.

  9. Angela_K says:

    If only our country would stop selling these savages weapons and military aircraft and we could stop buying their oil. All our leading politicians, with money from the arms industry as an “incentive” fall over themselves to plead with these oil-rich dictatorships into buying our weapons, we can’t be that desperate for business. Many of those politicians and arms business leaders profess a religion so like all of the religious, bristling with hypocrisy. And they say we have no morals.

  10. John the Drunkard says:

    It isn’t just the oil-whores and arms-dealers. The self-loathing pseudo-progressive ‘left’ cannot bring themselves to criticize ANYTHING done by people who want to kill Americans or Jews.

    When confronted with the raw face of Islamic theocracy, they stick their fingers in their ears and chant about Bush, Cheney, and Israel.

  11. Laura Roberts says:

    @JohnTheDrunkard: straw-man much?

    Americans are hard-pressed to argue about human rights when our spineless politicians find excuses to engage in torture, with conservative Christians cheering them on. Our current relationship with the Saudis is shameful, as is our eagerness to stoop to their level when lawful means won’t satisfy our thirst for revenge. It is not hard to trace the emergence of ISIS to our hasty, sloppy and largely illegal responses to 9-11. It is not “ourselves” we loathe, but the opportunistic degenerates in charge, who seem intent on fostering never-ending wars.

    And as for progressives, to my knowledge, the only American publication to reproduce the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons in 2005 was Free Inquiry, a progressive, secular humanist magazine. I don’t recall seeing those cartoons in any conservative news outlets. For that matter, I don’t recall them rushing to reproduce the Charlie Hebdo cartoons either. I do recall conservatives like Bill Donahue advocating limits on free speech where religion is concerned.