Saudi Arabia is in the news, and it is rather important to keep it there and ensure that the spotlight remains, not because of the passing of the baton of power (at the age of 90 King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died yesterday), but rather due to them being a state that is, and has been for a very long time, ISIS incarnate.
Sadly yes …
Is this a fair comparison?
When it comes to breaching human rights, even the basics such as freedom of thought or freedom of expression, then Saudi Arabia is a nation that more or less ticks every box, and so their track record for human rights is utterly appalling, and is the very worst on the planet. To be specific …
- No rights for women
- No political rights
- No freedom of belief
- No LBGT rights
- No freedom of the press
- No Justice
Is this a reflection on everybody in Saudi Arabia?
Nope, of course not, many Saudis are decent honourable people who do not personally support any of this. It is instead a manifestation of what happens when an ISIS style of Islamic belief takes root and flourishes. The reality is that only 22.9% of Saudi’s are Wahhabis, then rest are not, but lets drive this point home a but further … a poll revealed that 1 out of every 4 will privately admit to not being religious at all, and it is because of the strict imposition of Wahhabism that they need to retain a religious mask.
The Immediate Focus – Raif Badawi
Meet Raif Badawi.
For the heinous crime of running a blog that dared to criticise the human rights record in Saudi Arabia, and openly criticising the regime, he was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1000 lashes.
Two weeks ago he was taken out to a public square and in front of a large crowd given the first 50 of those 1000 lashes. He was due to be whipped like this in public each and every Friday, but so far they have postponed the next 50 because doctors advised that he has not yet recovered from the first 50 and proceeding would have seriously endangered his life. In essence, they want to slowly torture him, but only when he is well enough to survive.
The media spotlight of the world is now upon Saudi Arabia and Mr Badawi’s case is creating a lot of attention …
- In the UK the Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond yesterday raised the plight of the blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes with the Saudi ambassador to the UK.
- In the US a Conservative Princeton Professor Robert P. George and Others Offer to Take 1,000 Lashes for Saudi Blogger Raif Badawi
… and so Mr Badawi is fast becoming a symbol for all that is wrong about Saudi Arabia.
We must not pause, but rather persist and keep up the pressure by keeping their abhorrent behaviour in the spotlight.
When it comes to their behaviour, their beliefs and their dire lack of basic human decency, there is very little that is different between ISIS and Saudi Arabia, except for the observation that we happily bomb ISIS because we oppose their abhorrent intolerant philosophy, and yet for Saudi Arabia, we deem them to be our “friends” and quite happily sell them arms.
Why is it like this, why do we tolerate them and generally turn a blind eye to what they do?
One word sums it up … oil.