Saudi blogger Raif Badawi - Official Website - BenjaminMadeira
Religion against freedom of speech - Photo: illustration

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

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Saudi Arabian writer and activist, Raif Badawi, was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes will be publicly flogged once a week for 20 weeks after Friday prayers outside a mosque in the Red Sea coastal city of Jiddah (Jeddah) for setting up the website Free Saudi Liberals that championed free speech in the autocratic kingdom. His blog, the Saudi Free Liberals Forum, was shut down after his arrest in 2012.

The only article of Badawi’s hitherto translated from Arabic by Raif Badawi , into English denounces the demand of Muslims in New York that a mosque and community center be built on the site of the World Trade Center, 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.



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