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Posts Tagged ‘Raif Badawi

Here we go again: Saudi Arabia ‘chosen to head key UN human rights panel’

No reprieve for further humiliation and heaping indignities on mankind? And shared by the UN?

Andrew Bossone shared this link

“The Saudis’ bid emerged shortly after it posted a job advertisement for 8 new executioners, to cope with what Amnesty International branded a “macabre spike” in the use of capital punishment, including beheadings, this year.

The HRC, the UN body responsible for promoting human rights around the world, has long been the subject of criticism for granting membership to countries with dubious human rights records.

As well as Saudi Arabia, current members include China, Qatar, Russia and Venezuela.”

Saudi Arabia is the country having “arguably the worst record in the world” …
(Who are these characters in the picture?)

The United Nations has been criticised for handing Saudi Arabia a key human rights role – despite the country having “arguably the worst record in the world” on freedoms for women, minorities and dissidents.

Critics, including the wife of imprisoned pro-democracy blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to 1,000 lashes for blogging about free speech – labelled the appointment “scandalous”, saying it meant “oil trumps human rights”.

Mr Badawi’s wife, Ensaf Haidar, who is leading an international campaign to free her husband, said on Facebook that handing the role to Faisal bin Hassan Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was effectively “a green light to start flogging [him] again”.

UN Watch, an independent campaigning NGO, revealed Mr Trad, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador at the UN in Geneva, was elected as chair of a panel of independent experts on the UN Human Rights Council.

Ensaf Haidar, wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images) 

Ensaf Haidar, wife of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi (JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP/Getty Images)
As head of a five-strong group of diplomats, the influential role would give Mr Trad the power to select applicants from around the world for scores of expert roles in countries where the UN has a mandate on human rights.

Such experts are often described as the ‘crown jewels’ of the HRC, according to UN Watch, which has obtained official UN documents, dated 17 September, confirming the appointment.

UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer said the appointment, made in June but unreported until now, may have been a consolation prize for the Saudis after they withdrew their bid to head the 47-nation council following international condemnation of the kingdom’s human rights record.

Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for ‘insulting Islam’ on his liberal website 

Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes for ‘insulting Islam’ on his liberal website

The Saudis’ bid emerged shortly after it posted a job advertisement for eight new executioners, to cope with what Amnesty International branded a “macabre spike” in the use of capital punishment, including beheadings, this year.

Mr Neuer described the appointment as “scandalous”.

“Saudi Arabia has arguably the worst record in the world when it comes to religious freedom and women’s rights, and continues to imprison the innocent blogger Raif Badawi,” he said.

READ MORE: Raif Badawi’s wife takes fight for Saudi blogger’s release to Washington DC
Saudi Arabia executes ‘a person every two days’ as rate of beheadings soars under King Salman
Saudi Arabia ‘seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council’

“It’s a sad comment on our world that oil continues to trump basic human rights principles.

“It’s bad enough that Saudi Arabia is a member of the council, but for the UN to go and name the regime as chair of a key panel only pours salt in the wounds for dissidents languishing in Saudi prisons.”

The UN, and the Saudi Arabian mission to the UN’s Office in Geneva (UNOG), had not responded to The Independent‘s requests for a comment at the time of writing.

Crucifixion of teenager in Saudi Arabia highlights Britain’s business deals with despots
Ali Mohammed al-Nimr is set to be beheaded and then crucified after appeal is denied.
International Business Times UK

 

 

A look at the writings of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi – sentenced to 1,000 lashes 

Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting up a website that championed free speech in the autocratic kingdom. His blog, the Saudi Free Liberals Forum, was shut down after his arrest in 2012.

The lashing are sets of 50 lashes, and the next set is tomorrow.

Ian Black analyses extracts from his key published Arabic writings that show a man who risked his freedom to question some of the basic tenets of life in Saudi Arabia – especially the central role of religion

Saudi blogger faces next 50 lashes as Amnesty calls on UK government to act

Raif Badawi
Raif Badawi. Amnesty Photograph: Private/Amnesty

Reflecting on the role of the Muslim religious establishment on 12 August 2010, Badawi warned about the stifling of creativity:

As soon as a thinker starts to reveal his ideas, you will find hundreds of fatwas that accused 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.

Badawi argued on 28 September 2010 in favour of “secularism [as] the most important refuge for citizens of a country.”

Urged by clerics not to attend “heretical” celebrations marking Saudi national day, he underlined the importance of separating religion from the state.

He does not attack the Saudi monarchy and even praises the liberal governor of Mecca, the intellectual and poet Khaled al-Faisal Al Saud.

Secularism respects everyone and does not offend anyone … Secularism … is the practical solution to lift countries (including ours) out of the third world and into the first world.

Badawi linked Palestine, one of the touchstones of Arab solidarity, to the question of political Islam, attacking Hamas.

I’m not in support of the Israeli occupation of any Arab country, but at the same time I do not want to replace Israel by a religious state … whose main concern would be spreading the culture of death and ignorance among its people when we need modernisation and hope. States based on religious ideology … have nothing except the fear of God and an inability to face up to life.

Look at what had happened after the European peoples succeeded in removing the clergy from public life and restricting them to their churches. They built up human beings and (promoted) enlightenment, creativity and rebellion. States which are based on religion confine their people in the circle of faith and fear. (Note that Israel is becoming a religious State too)

The only article of Badawi’s hitherto translated from Arabic into English denounces the demand of Muslims in New York that a mosque and community centre be built on the site of the World Trade Centre, where 3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks by al-Qaida.

It goes against the official Saudi position by linking the terrorist group to the kingdom – and accuses Muslims of intolerance.

What hurts me most as a citizen of the area which exported those terrorists … is the audacity of Muslims in New York that reaches the limits of insolence, not taking any regard of the thousands of victims who perished on that fateful day or their families.

What increases my pain is this [Islamist] chauvinist arrogance which claims that innocent blood, shed by barbarian, brutal minds under the slogan “Allahu Akbar”, means nothing compared to the act of building an Islamic mosque whose mission will be to … spawn new terrorists …

Suppose we put ourselves in the place of American citizens. Would we accept that a Christian or Jew assaults us in our own house and then build a church or synagogue in the same area of the attack? I doubt it. We reject the building of churches in Saudi Arabia, not having been assaulted by anyone.

Then what would you think if those who wanted to build a church are the same people who stormed the sanctity of our land? Finally, we should not hide that fact that Muslims in Saudi Arabia not only disrespect the beliefs of others, but also charge them with infidelity to the extent that they consider anyone who is not Muslim an infidel, and, within their own narrow definitions, they consider non-Hanbali [the Saudi school of Islam] Muslims as apostates.

How can we be such people and build … normal relations with six billion humans, four and a half billion of whom do not believe in Islam.

In the first weeks of the Egyptian revolution in February 2011, Badawi hailed the drama in Cairo’s Tahrir Square as an example to the whole Arab world. The Saudi government, by contrast, was horrified by the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak and delighted when Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood veteran elected to succeed him, was ousted.

It is a revolution, led by students and the marginalised, a revolution in every sense of the word … that is … a decisive turning point … not only in the history and geography of Egypt but everywhere that is governed by the Arab mentality of dictatorship and security. It is not yet clear whether is Egypt is about to change, but it is our hope that a new Egypt will emerge from the painful birth pangs its people are experiencing … after years of subservience and oppression.

In Sepember 2011 Badawi launched a witheringly sarcastic attack on Saudi clerics after a TV preacher called for astronomers to be punished on the grounds that they encouraged scepticism about sharia law.

Actually, this venerable preacher has drawn my attention to a truth that had been hidden from me and my dear readers – namely, the existence of the so-called Sharia astronomer.

What a wonderful appellation! In my humble experience and in the course of my not inconsiderable research into the universe, its origins and the stars, I have never once come across this term. I advise NASA to abandon its telescopes and, instead, turn to our Sharia astronomers, whose keen vision and insight surpass the agency’s obsolete telescopes.

Indeed, I advise all other scholars the world over, of whatever discipline, to abandon their studies, laboratories, research centres, places of experimentation, universities, institutes etc. and head at once to the study groups of our magnificent preachers to learn from them all about modern medicine, engineering, chemistry, microbiology, geology, nuclear physics, the science of the atom, marine sciences, the science of explosives, pharmacology, anthropology etc. – alongside astronomy, of course.

God bless them! They have shown themselves to be the final authority with the decisive word in everything, which all mankind must accept, submit to and obey without hesitation or discussion.

In May 2012, shortly before his arrest, Badawi addressed the nature of liberalism.

For me, liberalism simply means, live and let live. This is a splendid slogan. However, the nature of liberalism – particularly the Saudi version – needs to be clarified. It is even more important to sketch the features and parameters of liberalism, to which the other faction, controlling and claiming exclusive monopoly of the truth, is so hostile that they are driven to discredit it without discussion or fully understanding what the word actually means.

They have succeeded in planting hostility to liberalism in the minds of the public and turning people against it, lest the carpet be pulled out from under their feet. But their hold over people’s minds and society shall vanish like dust carried off in the wind.

His final thought quoted Albert Camus: “The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion.”

In another piece that month, Badawi invoked the Quran to support the importance of liberalism, the need to separate religion and state and implied that Islam itself has been distorted by the Saudi political establishment to promote illiberal and authoritarian ideals.

No religion at all has any connection to mankind’s civic progress. This is not a failing on the part of religion but rather that all religions represent a particular, precise spiritual relationship between the individual and the Creator. ..

However, positive law is an unavoidable human and social need because traffic regulations, employment law and the codes governing the administration of State can hardly be derived from religion.

Translations: Mona Mahmood, Amnesty International, Ian Black, Raya Jalabi and Gatestone Institute.


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July 2021
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