Posted by Jack
“Saudi Moderate advocated for religious liberty. Instead of liberty he gets convicted of “blasphemy”. Sentence: 1000 lashes. This is a long, cruel and certain death for merely suggesting Muslims should have more religious freedom! Any government or religion that thinks this can pass for justice has lost any claim to legitimacy. They are out of step with humanity.
Raif Badawi is a Saudi Arabian writer and activist and the creator of the website Free Saudi Liberals. He was arrested in 2012 on a charge of insulting Islam through electronic channels and brought to court on several charges including apostasy.
What terrible things did he write? Here’s a sample: “As soon as a thinker starts to reveal his ideas, you will find hundreds of fatwas that accuse him of being an infidel just because he had the courage to discuss some sacred topics. I’m really worried that Arab thinkers will migrate in search of fresh air and to escape the sword of the religious authorities.” In the past Badawi has urged a separation of church and state.
Written by the American Islamic Forum for Democracy
PHOENIX (January 20, 2015) – Five notable religious freedom advocates, including Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, AIFD President, have signed and presented a letter to the Saudi Ambassador calling on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), to immediately release Raif Badawi. If they do not release him, they are asking that the Kingdom take them in the place of Raif Badawi in the meting out of his corporal punishment. Badawi was sentenced to prison, a monetary fine, and 1000 lashes for “blasphemy” based on his website which allowed the free exchange of religious and political ideas. His 1000 lashes are being delivered on a weekly basis every Friday in front of a mosque in Jeddah by the Saudi regime. His health was compromised by the first 50 to the point that last Friday the second 50 were delayed.
The signatories to the letter are Princeton Law Professor Robert P. George, Harvard Law Professor Mary Ann Glendon, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, Daniel I. Mark, who teaches political science at Villanova University, Eric Schwartz, Dean, Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota, Hannah Rosenthal, CEO, Milwaukee Jewish Federation, and Katrina Lantos Swett, President of The Lantos Foundation. The letter requested a remittance of his punishment but further stated that in the absence of a full dismissal, each was requesting to receive 100 lashes in the place of Mr. Badawi.
Noting that KSA was represented by highly placed government officials in the recent Paris march, “protesting the brutal murders in the name of Islam” the letter described the march as a “demonstration in support of human rights and civil liberties, including the liberty to criticize religion, particular religions, schools of thought within religions, and religious figures and leaders.” Yet, the KSA is inflicting this cruel punishment, known to cause a slow and painful death, over words on a website in the name of Islam.
AIFD has long stood with Raif and has been calling for the U.S. to do more on his behalf since his egregious arrest, conviction, and sentencing. AIFD finds no difference between the crimes committed by the Islamist terrorists in Paris who assassinated cartoonists at Charlie Hebdo in Paris and the crimes against humanity committed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the name of blasphemy against innocent heroes for religious liberty like Raif Badawi.
Voicing the need for religious liberty and universal human rights to prevail, the letter concludes with “We would rather share in his victimization than stand by and watch him being cruelly tortured. If your government does not see fit to stop this from happening, we are prepared to present ourselves to receive our share of Mr. Badawi’s unjust punishment.”