In light of the terror attack in Manchester, England on Monday 22nd May, we thought it fitting to republish this submission by STAR columnist Michael Walker, which first appeared in the STAR on June 20, 2015.
Iam sick and tired of people who claim with great piety that Islam is a religion of peace and love, and that the terrorists who kill people on a daily basis throughout the world are aberrations, different from the norm. Muslims should, at the very least, clean their own house and rid the world of the swine that kill and maim thousands each year in the name of Islam.
But it’s not only the terrorists that cause me concern. Our government, along with just about all governments worldwide, plays toady to the oil-rich Islamic nations that show little or no respect for life in general and human life in particular.
Take, for example, Saudi Arabia. Recently, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court upheld a sentence of 10 years imprisonment and 1,000 lashes for Internet blogger Raif Badawi. Badawi who has been imprisoned since 2012, was charged with violating Saudi Arabia’s information technology law and insulting Islam through his website “Saudi Arabian Liberals.”
The court decreed that lashings are to be carried out 50 lashes at a time, 20 weeks in a row until the punishment is complete. Badawi endured the first 50 of the 1,000 lashes stoically, arching his back in pain. The flogging provoked an outcry from human rights groups and U.S. officials – to no avail.
“Publicly lashing a peaceful activist merely for expressing his ideas sends an ugly message of intolerance,” Human Rights Watch said at the time.
Said Boumedouha, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East, called for Badawi’s immediate release. “Raif Badawi is a prisoner of conscience; his only ‘crime’ was to exercise his right to freedom of expression by setting up a website for public discussion,” Boumedouha said in a statement.
Raef Badawi was flogged in public near a mosque in the Red Sea city of Jeddah, receiving 50 lashes for insulting Islam. Witnesses said that Badawi, 30, was flogged after the weekly Friday prayers near Al-Jafali mosque as a crowd of worshippers looked on.
Badawi was driven to the site in a police car, and taken out of the vehicle as a government employee read out to the crowd the charges against him. The blogger was made to stand with his back to onlookers as another man began flogging him, witnesses said, adding that Badawi did not make any sound or cry in pain. The faithful who had emerged from noon prayers watched in silence and were ordered by security forces not to take any pictures on their mobile phones.
Media watchdog ‘Reporters Without Borders’ said the punishment was barbaric and noted its timing after Saudi Arabia condemned the deadly attack on French magazine Charlie Hebdo. U.S. officials have called on Saudi officials to withdraw the sentence and review Badawi’s case.
Amnesty reported that eight days after the initial flogging, doctors determined that Badawi had not healed sufficiently to be flogged for the second time. The lashes have been postponed at least three times.
A medical committee of around eight doctors who carried out a series of tests on Raif at a Jeddah hospital found that wounds sustained from the 50 lashes dealt to him by Saudi officials nearly a fortnight before hadn’t healed enough for him to be lashed again without serious risk to his health.
But are we any better? Just recently a poor St Lucian succumbed to temptation and stole a vegetable worth about EC$40 and was given the choice of paying a fine of EC$5,000 or going to jail for quite a while. He ended up in jail. Now, I’m no expert in these things but I am pretty sure that JC what’s-his-name would have told the man to keep the vegetable, go his way and sin no more.
But what do I know? Nothing. This A-Musing could well be my last. I just don’t get this religious thing at all!