Okay, right up front, we all know that Saudi Arabia doesn’t have freedom of speech. They are essentially a religious theocracy. But this just shows what can happen when such theocracies get completely out of control.
The Saudi Arabia Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, found more than 600 tweets by an unnamed man that are “atheistic” in nature, they deny the existence of Allah and criticize religion. And as the Saudi government derives its legitimacy from openly adhering to an ultraconservative version of Islam, we shouldn’t be surprised at what happened next. The man was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 2000 lashes from the whip. These whippings are traditionally carried out in batches of 50, meaning this person will be whipped 40 times. Such whippings can and have resulted in death from blood loss and trauma.
Now as I said, Saudi Arabia is a theocracy and has no freedom of speech and anyone who lives there, or in any other theocracy, ought to know better than to go spouting off when they know, for a fact, that the religious police are watching. Just because people want free speech doesn’t mean they have free speech. That’s not an excuse for what happened, I still think the sentence is horrific, but people still have to be aware of their surroundings and act in their own best interests. As sympathetic as I am for the plight of this poor guy, he still did something he should have known better than to do.
Luckily, recent studies show that atheism is on the rise in Saudi Arabia, as it is in virtually every other nation, with 5% of citizens currently denying religious adherence. Within a generation, I expect to see a significant secular population within Saudi Arabia and maybe they can turn these barbaric laws around. It would be nice not to have to keep reporting on Middle Eastern religious stupidity on Horror Show Sunday.