Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The More Things Change...

As far as I'm concerned, the term "Arab ally" has frequently been an oxymoron. After all, one would think that "ally" would imply some degree of shared values in addition to the issues of realpolitik. But probably nowhere is the chasm between our values and theirs wider than in the case of Saudi Arabia. And now another stomach-turning example of how different we are has come to light.

"Saudi Court: 750 Lashes For Praising Jews"
Teacher sentenced to 40 months in jail and 750 lashes for praising Jews; suspect will be flogged in public.

Reuters
November 15, 2005

A court in Saudi Arabia sentenced a teacher to 40 months in jail and 750 lashes for "mocking religion" after he discussed the Bible and praised Jews, a Saudi newspaper reported Sunday.

Al-Madina newspaper said secondary school teacher Mohammad al-Harbi will be flogged in public after he was taken to court by his colleagues and students.

He was charged with promoting a "dubious ideology, mocking religion, saying the Jews were right, discussing the gospel and preventing students from leaving class to wash for prayer" the newspaper said. It gave no more details.

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, strictly upholds the austere Wahabi school of Islam and bases its constitution on the Koran and the saying of Islam's prophet, Mohammed.

Public practice of any other religion is illegal in Saudi Arabia.

A U.S. State Department report criticised Saudi Arabia last week, saying religious freedoms "are denied to all but those who adhere to the state-sanctioned version of Sunni Islam."

The newspaper said al-Harbi will appeal against the verdict.

Now don't you just love the way Reuters (or "al-Reuters" as Patrick at Clarity & Resolve calls them) describes Wahabism as "austere?" I'm sorry, but any religion that would thrash a man to within an inch of his life for having the temerity to try to foster respect for all religions can hardly be described as merely "austere." Actually, primitive, barbaric and murderous are terms that come to mind. But as long as they have the oil, and we have the sycophantic State Department issuing lukewarm condemnations, while putting a happy face on the House of Saud, this dysfunctional relationship won't be ending any time soon.

Good luck, Mr. Harbi. I hope your appeal is successful.

10 Comments:

At 9:30 AM, Blogger muse said...

We aren't all the same. They have very different values and norms. It's sad and dangerous.

 
At 9:31 AM, Blogger rockmother said...

Another great post, Rory! And you're absolutely correct about the use of the word "austere".

Well done again.

 
At 10:46 AM, Blogger Rory said...

Muse,
I definitely agree with you and I'm not sure most people understand just how dangerous the situation is.

Rockmother,
Thank you. I really appreciate your comments. And I think that for those of us who recognize the power of words, the mainstream media's use of terms like "militant" rather than terrorist, or "austere" to describe Wahabi fanaticism, are in large measure responsible for the inability of a lot of people to grasp the scope of the threat.

 
At 12:28 PM, Blogger Esther said...

It does feel like they're back in the middle ages. But as you say, if no one stands up to them, what motivation do they have to change? Not that they would anyway. It stirs so many emotions in me, so much anger, as I know it does for many of us. Guess I gotta go punch my pillow again. Sigh.

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger Timothy Birdnow said...

Esther is right; they`re stuck in the year 800-except they are working towards biotoxins and atom bombs, and the West has sunk into anomie and self-gratification to the point where no-one wants to stop them.

We are in great peril.

 
At 4:10 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam, strictly upholds the austere Wahabi school of Islam...

And Saudi supports Wahhabism financially because Wahhabists brought the House of Saud to power and keeps the House in power.

Notice state-sanctioned in the Reuters article. Does any sane person really believe that the new "strategic dialogue" to which Condi has agreed is going to address the heart of the matter?

750 lashes??? Will the man survive such a beating?

Rory, you have assessed correctly: Actually, primitive, barbaric and murderous are terms that come to mind. Those adjectives aptly describe the terrorism known as Wahhabism (aka Sunni Islam).

 
At 8:57 PM, Anonymous rachy said...

I am horrified, but sadly not surprised.

 
At 2:12 AM, Blogger Rory said...

Esther,
I definitely feel your pain. And it's true that they're not motivated to change, especially when we had the leader of the free world strolling arm in arm with that weasel, Prince Bandar. Boy, did that make me wanna retch.

Timothy,
I agree, and between the Saudis and the Iranians, we'll be lucky if we don't wake up with a mushroom cloud over our heads one day.

AOW,
You're right about Condi Rice. And I had a lot more respect for her before she became the darling of the State Department.

As far as the 750 lashes, apparently they won't be doled out all at once, but that's hardly any comfort. The whole thing is utterly barbaric, and I just hope some of the so-called human rights groups, like Amnesty International, will be screaming bloody murder over what's being done to this poor man.

Rachy,
Those are my feelings exactly.

 
At 11:48 PM, Blogger patrickafir said...

One thing I've always liked about you, Rory, is our mutual contempt for the despicable Saudi kleptotheocracy.

Speaking of the morally impoverished snakes at al-Reuters, check out this headline that Charles at Little Green Footballs points out: Car bombs kill 48 in Iraq; Bush says war on track (which they soon after magically changed to read only what precedes the semi-colon)

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger Rory said...

Thanks, Patrick, and don't forget about our shared disdain for the State Department.

That's interesting about the headline. Sneaky little buggers, aren't they?

 

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