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Government Censorship Crime The Courts The Internet

Liberal Saudi Web Forum Founder Sentenced To 600 Lashes and 7 Years In Prison 506

cold fjord writes "Some reformers travel a harder road than others. The Seattle Times reports, 'The founder of a liberal-minded website in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes after angering Islamic authorities in the ultraconservative kingdom. ... Raif Badawi, through his website known as Free Saudi Liberals, had urged Saudis to share opinions about the role of religion in the country, which follows a strict form of Islam that includes harsh punishments for challenging customs. A judge in the Red Sea port of Jiddah imposed the sentences but dropped charges of apostasy, which could have brought a death sentence, the Al-Watan newspaper reported. Badawi has been held since June 2012.' More at details are available at the BBC, which informs us that 'The judge ordered that the 600 lashes be administered 150 at a time.' 'The lashes could be spread out but in Sharia this is a sign that the judge wants to insult him,' Badawi's lawyer said."
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Liberal Saudi Web Forum Founder Sentenced To 600 Lashes and 7 Years In Prison

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  • WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:08PM (#44439429)

    Good thing we are still friendly with this nation who is a shining beacon of freedom.

  • Remember this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:10PM (#44439455)

    Remember this when you get an urge to say that America and Western society is oppressive, and when you decide that Islam is a peaceful religion.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bondsbw ( 888959 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:14PM (#44439513) []

  • Re:WTF? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:16PM (#44439539)

    Good thing we are still friendly with this nation who is a shining beacon of freedom.

    Nations don't have friends.

  • America (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Iniamyen ( 2440798 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:16PM (#44439541)
    As much as I love bitching about the issues that we have here in America, seeing what happens in shitholes like Saudi Arabia makes me feel really lucky to have been born here.
  • Flaming Liberal!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by happy_place ( 632005 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:19PM (#44439579) Homepage

    The Flaming Liberal, clearly he got what he deserves... 600 lashes and 7 years in prison will definitely change his mind and reform him about those wrong-headed ideas that the blessed Shariah Law-abiding Conservatives of Saudi Arabia are not too punative or quick to deal out harsh rulings.

  • A prime example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:19PM (#44439589) Journal
    Yet another prime example of why alien civilizations won't contact us openly: How can a truly civilized race possibly take us as anything other than animals when we still do things like this? Our so-called "civilization" is just as thin a patina over the animal underneath as our neo-cortex is over the rest of our brains. It's positively heartbreaking to read of things like this in this day and age when I know that the human race, at it's best, is in such stark contrast with such senseless ignorance and brutality.

    No, I'm not joking, and I'm not trolling either; this is really how I feel about this, and I don't care if anyone likes it or not.
    Bracing for being flamed all the way down to "-1, Troll" for daring to speak my mind, which ironically enough will prove my point for me better than I can prove it myself.
  • Re:A prime example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zak3056 ( 69287 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:24PM (#44439641) Journal

    Yet another prime example of why alien civilizations won't contact us openly:

    Well, that and the fact that you couldn't get here from pretty much anywhere in any reasonable amount of time. Personally, I tend to think that's a bigger reason than any particular human behavior, but hey, whatever works for you.

  • Re:Remember this (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:24PM (#44439645)

    And yet we are friends with them and protect them with our military.

    Well, they are some of the more "well behaved" people in the region. Saddam made these guys look mild mannered and kind hearted.

    Its sort of like picking Stalin over Hitler.

  • Re:A prime example (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:26PM (#44439675) Journal
    I'm not so arrogant to believe that we've discovered everything physics has to offer, so I'll still hold out for the possibility of methods of travelling interstellar distances in relatively short periods of time.
  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:31PM (#44439733)

    We've got to stop relying on oil.


  • Re:Remember this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:33PM (#44439763)

    Saddam... Saddam... Wasn't he the one who Don Rumsfeld was chummy with in the 80s and who the Reagan Administration was giving tanks, missiles and technology so he could produce chemical weapons? Oh and who also gave him satellite imagery so he could bomb civilian targets in Iran?

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:34PM (#44439767)

    Your word for today is Fungible. Learn what it means.

    We need to stop using so much oil at all.

  • Re:Remember this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:42PM (#44439867)

    Remember this when you get an urge to say that America and Western society is oppressive, and when you decide that Islam is a peaceful religion.

    Saying that that Wahhabism [] is representative of Islam is like saying that the Westoboro Baptist Church [] is representative of Christians.

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:45PM (#44439905)

    Sure. There are zero good cultures in the ME, so pitting one variety of Muslim against the other is the most efficient way to (help) maintain the divisions and schismatic violence which they love so well and practiced long before tasty oil made it necessary to deal with them.

    We must have energy, cheap energy, and since much of that energy comes from our cultural enemies the situation requires careful, amoral manipulation.

    When dealing with beasts, choose the most useful. The Wahabis are brutal and nasty, but they need a military edge against their Persian enemies who are also infected with the same superstition. As long as they are enemies, at least one side needs the EUSian oil consumers as clients.

  • Re:Remember this (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stdarg ( 456557 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:45PM (#44439915)

    Many Muslims have already realized this and accepted it

    "Many" as in millions perhaps, but that's a small percentage of Muslims.

    When we're talking about the general Muslim population, the people you may know in the US don't count for anything. It's the large populations in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Egypt, Tunisia, Indonesia, etc. that count. There is widespread support for sharia law throughout the Muslim world.

    Because when you think about it, where Islam is right now, Christianity was at the same age. Imagine 14th century Christianity existing right now. It would look pretty bad too.

    That argument makes no sense at all. The age of the religion doesn't matter, it's the state of the world that matters. 14th century Christianity was backwards because in the 14th century we didn't have modern science and medicine, electricity, widespread literacy, the Internet, access to the entire world's products and cultures, and instant access to historical information.

    Guess what? Muslims have all those things. The literacy rate in Iran is over 98%. Pakistan has over 118 million cell phones.

    To top it off there are newer religions that are better, like Sikhism (a monotheistic warrior religion founded in the 15th century as a reaction to the military strength of Islam... that's why they carry swords all the time). Do you think Sikhism is umm 800 years or so behind EVEN ISLAM in terms of modernity? Nope!

    Really, if you have a good reason why younger monotheistic religions should be more backwards, despite examples to the contrary, please share it.

  • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:51PM (#44439987)

    No, they buy their WMDs from us.

    The Iranians are building nukes since they saw what not having them meant for Saddam. If you want to go down that road there is another country in that region that has nukes no one is allowed to inspect, often unilaterally attacks its neighbors and is running a brutal occupation in ways that violates international agreements including using tactics like collective punishment. For some reason we are best buds with them too.

  • Re:Remember this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aggie_knight ( 611726 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:51PM (#44439997)

    Remember this when you get an urge to say that America and Western society is oppressive, and when you decide that Islam is a peaceful religion.

    I think you are confusing a political system with a religion.

    Saudi Arabia is a country that leverages their religion to implement a very conservative and authoritarian society.

    Islam is a religion.

    Remember, Christianity has been used throughout history as an excuse to kill, maim, rape, and torture millions of people too. Pretending that Islam is unique in the barbarism that is executed in its name is fuzzy logic at best.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Holi ( 250190 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @04:51PM (#44440001)

    Killing the republican party? I don't think so. If they were dying they would not be having so much success in the state governments. And beyond that they have infected the democratic party. Look haw far to the right we have moved. Where you once saw republicans we now see democrats on the political spectrum. The hard right and the middle are well covered in politics what we lack now is a voice from the actual left. So no the republican party is not dying, but the democratic party is.

  • Re:Remember this (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bongo ( 13261 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @05:14PM (#44440285)

    If you read Nonie Darwish's book ( she is the daughter of a well respected high ranking Gaza intelligence officer who was eventually assassinated by the Israelis ) she says the Saudi stuff IS the dominant force in islam today globally and it continues to get stronger, even in America, when she walks into a mosque, what is being privately taught between Muslims is holy war against infidels. She says all the usual excuses about "jihad means inner struggle" is just PR meant for westerners.

    The book is quite shocking actually. As westerners we have no idwa how commonly hatred is preached globally by mainstream islam. That's her message.

  • by mwvdlee ( 775178 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @05:15PM (#44440301) Homepage

    Either that or they want to torture him before dying.

  • by Nyder ( 754090 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @05:25PM (#44440391) Journal

    when you have to use laws to keep people from questioning how it's practiced.

  • Re:Remember this (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @05:58PM (#44440759) Homepage

    This whole thing about all of Islam being inherently violent is being brought up again and again by people trying to show about how Christianity is superior

    I can assure you, there are atheists who have no interest in saying 'Christianity is superior' who look at some of these things and think "WTF???"

    We also look at some of the things some Christians tell us they're convinced their god told them and think "WTF???"

    Sometimes, I hear someone from a different religion saying what their god said, and I think "WTF???"

    From the outside looking in, there's enough crazy and indefensible stuff to go around.

    TFA seemed a little thin on details, but I believe he is being lashed for having said words to the effect of "people are free to believe or not believe" -- at which point what is being punished is the statement that you are in fact free to disbelieve.

    And I'm suddenly finding myself thinking "gee, by the time I was 13 and had given up on the belief in god as something I inherited from my parents but couldn't get behind, does being publicly lashed or sentenced to death seem like a reasonable thing". And I'm forced to conclude that, no, it isn't.

  • by Valdrax ( 32670 ) on Wednesday July 31, 2013 @07:27PM (#44441593)

    The Republican party doesn't want to coddle minorities because it believes that minorities are just as capable as the majority, and believes that introducing dependence perpetuates problems. The Democrats want to keep dependency going because they get to harvest votes (instead of the cotton they used to get). Yes, this is surprising news to you that the *Republicans* believe in true equality regardless of race - but that is the history if you care to look.

    The sad thing is that I think you've actually convinced yourself of that. That the political parties are now as they have always been, and that the Republicans are still the "Party of Lincoln."

    No, if you really look at the history, you see people like Strom Thurmond [] and his fellow Dixiecrats who left the Democratic Party to become Republicans in the wake of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. You see Nixon and the Southern strategy. [] As Kevin Phillips, Nixon's political strategist said at the time:

    "From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that...but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats."

    The mid 20th century was a transition time in which the Democrats split over the issue of segregation v. equality. Thurmond's Dixiecrats feuded with the rising liberalism in the party, and the end result was that most Southern Democrats were replaced with equally racist Southern Republicans -- at least the ones that didn't just switch parties themselves. It would be the Republican party that would squeeze out its pro-equality members over the next few decades, not the Democrats. As LBJ is said to have told an aide upon signing the Civil Rights Act, ""We have lost the South for a generation." It was the Democrats who made the political sacrifice to do what's right on race. And it was the Republicans who made the cold, amoral decision to pander to racists to gain their votes.

    Although it was then-Democrat George Wallace who first linked popularized the connection between racist policies and states rights, it was Republican Barry Goldwater who ran with the idea and became the first Republican candidate to win the South with Reconstruction. Nixon's subsequent campaign on "states rights" and "law and order," all under the guidance of Harry S. Dent, [] was well understood by Southerners to mean support for racially biased policies. [] As Lee Atwater said: []

    "You start out in 1954 by saying, 'Nigger, nigger, nigger.' By 1968 you can't say 'nigger' -- that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me â" because obviously sitting around saying, 'We want to cut this,' is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than 'Nigger, nigger.'"

    The only reason Republicans pretend to care today is beca

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