Saudi Arabia

Video of Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi Flogged for "Spreading Liberal Thoughts" and "Insulting Islam"

Saudi Arabia flogged Raif Badawi for "insulting Islam" even as the govt joined in protests against Charlie Hebdo murders.


Even as global outrage was pouring out over the horrifying massacre of Charlie Hebdo staff in Paris last week, our friends and allies in Saudi Arabia were following through on corporal punishment of jailed blogger Raif Badawi. In 2012, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail for "insulting Islam" and "spreading liberal thoughts," and fined the equivalent of $260,000. Badawi also will be given 1,000 lashes in public. The first 50 were given a few days ago, even as the Saudi government condemned Islamist violence.

Badawi was cleared of apostasy charges, which would have carried a death sentence. "The evidence against him included the fact that he pressed the "Like" button on a Facebook page for Arab Christians," noted the BBC in 2013

Here is illegal cellphone footage of the flogging, which is as much a ritualized public humiliation as a specifically physical punishment (though it is certainly that).

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  1. Saudi hypocrisy is low-hanging fruit.

  2. Man, has anything good EVER come from a Facebook like?

    1. I was told I saved an african kid from starving once... or did I cure cancer? Aids... it must have been aids... or someone going to prom with someone else... shit, man, I just don't know anymore.

  3. THIS is why separation of church and state is so important.

    1. I second that, Alahu Akbhar!

  4. Does God really need us to act as his enforcers? I mean, if the whole point isn't about individuals behaving correctly by their own choice, why aren't we all just totally obedient and well-behaving robots?

    1. Tangentially, if we're supposed to choose our own path, but the punishment for not choosing the preferred path is eternal suffering, is that really a choice at all? Is this not the illusion of choice presented by a megalomaniac that should lead to revolution?

      1. This is all probably just a full immersion VR experience that's for a job interview. Slaughtering people who disagree with you is not an optimal strategy for getting hired.

        1. Unless it's about becoming a cop in new mexico.

    2. They're really big on predestination. The biggest difference between their outlook and ours has to do with our views of free will and theirs of predestination.

      In our modern Christian influenced view, God rejects people because they chose to sin (transgress his law). In their Muslim influenced view, people sin because God rejected them.

      It's a really important distinction.

      There's really no free will involved in their moral universe. Everything that happens--Insha'Allah--happens because God willed it.

      When they lash a guy, they're doing it because God wills it--otherwise, it wouldn't be happening. The implications of that are so disturbing to the American mind, for whom religion, ethics, and law are all wrapped around free will. But their mentality is--if God didn't want me to lash this guy, I wouldn't be doing it.

      God is not rejecting this "criminal" because he committed a crime; The crime he committed is evidence God is giving them that he's been rejected. He was rejected before he was even born. God doesn't need us to act as his enforcers--but we wouldn't be doing the things we're doing if God didn't will it.

      Listen to Muslims condemning non-believers sometime. When they condemn us for doing things like eating pork or the way our women dress, they're not saying we're evil because we're doing those things. They're saying that God will us to do those things that good people will know they are evil. ...and they always were--even before they were born.

      1. I think the lashings really happens because they are all, almost every single one of them, so deeply afraid that they might be wrong.

        I guess, if I was an adherent of a religion that was founded upon mass murder, I would be really terrified of being wrong.

        Actually maybe your explanation fits into this. If everything is predestined by God's will, then maybe it is the Muslims who have been rejected by God and that is why they commit atrocities.
        That thought would drive me fucking nuts if I was a Muslim. Maybe nuts enough to kill a lot of people and hold public lashings. They are terrified of the idea that maybe THEY are the evil.

      2. Good way to punt on morality.

      3. "This hurts me more than it hurts you!"

  5. According to WAPO, the Democrats are talking about a large middle class tax break.

    Okay. Question. How do the Democrats plan to pay for these massive programs they want without increasing taxes substantially on the middle class? The way Europeans pay for these things is with a gigantic consumption tax that falls largely upon middle class workers, but the Democrats seem to believe they can have the same social programs but the middle class won't have to pay anything for them.

    1. When you don't have to even remotely match revenues with expenditures, all things are possible.

      1. Yeah, as long as we remain more fiscally restrained than Europe--which is a low bar to clear--then there will be plenty of people willing to buy our debt.

        1. The U.S. makes possible socialism in places like Europe, at least in the medium term. What's going to make possible U.S. socialism?

    2. Here in Japan they had to axe the proposed consumption tax increase from 8 to 10% because the housewives flipped out. Of course they claimed their economic advisors believed it would hamper growth. Basically, they admit, accidently, that their own programs harm the economy and hurt the poor and middle class, yet they don't propose eliminating it entirely. Wouldn't that stimulate grow?

    3. Cigarette taxes seem to be the go-to tax of the moment.

    4. Easy ... just print more money.

      Technically, it's a bit more complicated, but that's what it boils down to.

  6. Cozying up with these guys made a lot more sense back when oil was at $150 a barrel--that was what, just seven years ago?

    Now it's dipping below $50 a barrel, and everybody feels brave. Thank God for fracking!

    However, my understanding is that Saudi Arabia is sort of like Egypt was--only more so. You know how everybody thought everything would change if only the Egyptian people got rid of the dictator? Once they did, it turned out that Mubarak was probably taking orders from the Egyptian Army--not the other way around.

    I'm not sure the Saudi government could kick the clergy out of their judicial system even if that's what they wanted. If the House of Saud tried to do that, they probably wouldn't succeed in getting rid of clergy, but the clergy might very well succeed in dethroning the House of Saud.

    You think we're worried about terrorist over here? How safe do you think the House of Saud feels over there?

    1. It's actually more complicated than that: there are competing factions within the House of Saud. And there are multiple competing factions among the religious authorities along both tribal and religious differences. Also, there are multiple factions within the military.

      King Abdullah has not been half-bad, but he's 90 years old. KSA is going to change, but there is very little that that US can do to make things better other than to just butt out. Recent history suggests that anything the US knows very little about the motivations and internal dynamics of Islamic societies, and that anything it does will just make things worse, and probably much worse.

  7. The House of Saud promotes terrorism. They are not our friend.

    David E. Kaplan, "The Saudi Connection: How Billions in Oil Money Spawned a Global Terror Network," U.S. News and World Report, December 7, 2003,; David S. Morgan, "Saudis Largest Source of Terror Funds,", December 5, 2010,

    This regime must be eliminated to end the multitude of threats to our freedom--not just to the poor souls in this cesspool of a country. Libertarian leaders like Nick Gillespie need to take this stand in order to be credible leaders of the liberty movement.

    1. This has all been well known since 9/11 at least...

      ...and you think it's in the best interests of the United States to invade Saudi Arabia?

      Because some in the House of Saud support jihadis and some journalists were murdered?

      Here's a link you should really spend some time with:

      1. What is the value of freedom, Ken? And what is the cost for a no longer have freedom of speech and the ability to act upon our reason and thought?

        1. If you're concerned about the liberty of Saudis, feel free to head on over there. Just don't coerce others into helping.

          1. Most people in Saudi Arabia likely have a disdain for freedom and support the Sharia laws governing them. I have no interest in fighting for them.

            But Saudi is a threat to our country through their continuous support of terrorist attacks. They helped finance 911 and many other terrorist attacks that killed Americans. They clearly are a threat to this country.

    2. Two things:

      1. You don't really think he was using "friend" in anything other than an ironic/sarcastic sense, do you?

      2. Fuck. No. It's a fucked up country that does things like this to its own people. But to the extent they're not doing anything our way, there's no way anyone should report yet another war.

      1. Gillispie is being sarcastic I am sure.

        My point is that libertarians are fine with talking out the importance of freedom, but their non-aggression stance makes them weak on the importance of defending freedom. The stupid wars and military actions fought by the US in Iraq and other ME were not about defending our freedoms, but about giving others the right to vote for their freedom or not. Stupid altruistic wars.

        This does not change the fact that these countries have attacked us and supported those who have attacked us repeatedly and nothing has been done. The enemies of our freedom need to be clearly identified and eliminated as quickly as possible and all supporters crushed and humiliated. Nothing less will secure our freedom--See Imperialist Japan or Nazi Germany as examples.

        1. Get back to me when the United States is not engaging in police and surveillance state tactics.

          You want to see the biggest threat to your personal liberty as an individual? Look no further than the United States government. Clean up your own house before you start trying to cleaning up other people's.

          1. Hell, look no further than your local government. Thugs are thugs, whether local cops who murder 12-year olds or federal SWAT teams who massacre a family in their beds.

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  9. Really emphasises the extent to which taboos underlie the Islamic faith. The entire religion works on making the population too terrified to even think doubting thoughts.

    The Charlie Hebdo attack and the laws against "insulting Islam" extend from the same place - a deep seated fear of questioning the faith, reinforced by the brutal punishment of the slightest dissent.

    Imagine a state where the Creationists managed to gain power, and banned not only the teaching of evolution, but punished the mere mention of Darwin's name with public lashings.

    1. It's like living in a Twilight Zone episode - one of the ones that ends badly.

      1. Yeah, one of those ones where an insane cult takes over and everyone is brainwashed. And they kill anyone who becomes unbrainwashed. Something like that.

        1. A regimen of enforced group prayer -- five times a day at prescribed times -- is very effective brainwashing.

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  12. In all fairness, I think the world was expecting this flogging to be something out of 300 or Caligula.

    Nowhere near that barbaric here.

    Although basic principles WERE violated here, if this video is any indication, the "flogging" served more to embarrass - or he may have just been laughing his ass off inside. I got worse from my eighty-year-old grandmother as a child.

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