In Saudi Arabia, a human rights lawyer, Walid Abu al-Khayr., was given a 15 year prison sentence and slapped with a 15 year travel ban to be imposed after his release. His crime was “inciting public opinion against the government”. In addition he was fined 200,000 riyals, the equivalent of $53,000.
Walid Abu al-Khayr acted as the defence lawyer for Raif Badawi who has been in custody in Briman Prison in Jeddah from 17th June 2012. In May this year the young Saudi was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, ten years in jail and fine of one million riyals ($270,000). His crime? Badawi was a blogger who had co-founded a blog called “Saudi Arabian Liberals” in which he exposed, among other things, the hypocrisy of the Western “ethical investment” in support of Saudi Arabia making them complicit in the beheadings and amputations, which take place under Sharia law.
Other crimes against humanity by the Saudi Arabian regime are well-documented, the abuse of women, execution of homosexuals, and the ill-treatment of foreign workers, to name a few.
For Muslims who become Christians in Saudi Arabia and other Islamic countries, there is no mercy. Baptism amounts to a death sentence. According to Barnabas Fund, a website that aids persecuted Christians:
“Saudi Arabia makes no provision for religious freedom. Its official religion is Sunni Islam; its constitution is the Quran and the traditions about Muhammad; and its legal system is based on the government’s strict interpretation of sharia. There is no separation of state and religion, and all the country’s citizens must be Muslims. School textbooks, sermons and fatwas promote hatred and violence against Christians and Jews.”
There is no provision for the practice of any faith apart from Islam and Christians are forced to worship in extreme secrecy.
During his meeting with Saudi King Abdullah and other leaders in Saudi Arabia in March this year, President Barack Obama was criticized for his failure to address human rights issues, including the plight of persecuted Christians and other minorities. In a letter from some 70 Congress members, Obama was urged before leaving for Saudi Arabia to “address specific human rights reforms” both in public and in direct meetings with Abdullah and other officials. It appears the American president is either indifferent to the plight of those who are suffering under harsh persecution, or he would rather not rock the diplomatic boat.
A young blogger is imprisoned and has undoubtedly experienced torture simply for exposing the excesses of Saudi Arabia’s government. His human rights lawyer has discovered that there is no such thing as human rights under Sharia law. Meanwhile, the Western nations would rather look the other way when it comes to preserving their own interests in the Middle East.