Today an innocent man, a human rights activist, will be stripped of his shirt and flogged repeatedly with a whip that will tear the flesh from the bones of his back. There is nothing he or anyone else can do to prevent this atrocity and to make things worse, this barbarism will take place in front of a seething crowd of insane Saudi citizens, all screaming for him to be painfully punished. If that were the end of it all, it would be horrible enough, but this torture will continue for weeks. Each time, this lovely human being will be brought before the credulous crowds and brutally flogged and each week, he will languish in prison, awaiting with terror, the repetition of this state sanctioned terrorism. One can only imagine, if at all, the immense psychological strain of knowing that you will be beaten, torn apart, piece by piece, over and over, and that there is nothing you can do to prevent such violent viciousness from ruthlessly ripping your skin to shreds.
As if this inhumaneness isn’t enough, Raif Badawi will spend 10 years in a Saudi prison, a prison full of Islamic inmates, men who would jump at the chance to murder such a man. He will be, and has already been, separated from his loving wife and family, and for what? Well, this lover of liberty, this proselytizer of peace and goodwill, had the audacity to question the human rights record of that crazed and credulous Islamic kingdom, Saudi Arabia. He cared too much about the welfare of women and men who had previously shared his present predicament and possessed the courage to question the Islamic authorities in that land that time forgot. He has been charged with blasphemy, a sentence that, in Islamic states, is punishable with either imprisonment or death.
How can I adequately convey with words, the utter contempt I have for that barbaric kingdom and its equally savage Islamic counterparts, all of which, care not one ounce, not one iota, for humanity, peace and love, but for their hollow and vacuous mantra, “Islam is a religion of peace?” How can I impart my furiously infuriating frustration over the inhumanity of Islamic states that place medieval delusions over the wellbeing of human beings and perniciously punish peaceful people like Raif Badawi?
As if my anger wasn’t already boiling in the pits of my stomach to such tempestuous temperatures that I can almost feel it burning through my belly, Saudi Arabia, a member state of the United Nations, has served on the Human Rights Council, yes, the Human Rights Council! What kind of insanity is this? Now, I will forgo expressing my anger and confusion over Saudi Arabia also serving on a United Nations committee for the protection of women’s rights, given that it treats its own women as mere chattels and beasts of burden, and just focus on this one horrible and inhumane issue, blasphemy.
Saudi Arabia, The United Nations & Human Rights for Atheists, Agnostics and Secularists
Articles 18 and 19 of the United Nations’ International Convention on Civil and Political Rights (1976) (ICCPR) protects the freedom of expression, thought and conscience; so how can a member state of the United Nations imprison a person for freely expressing themselves, as is the case with Raif Badawi? Easy! The ICCPR is a voluntary convention, with member states given the choice of whether or not they wish to protect the human rights of their citizens and it will come as no surprise, I’m sure, that Saudi Arabia has neither signed nor ratified the ICCPR and yet, on numerous occasions, Saudi Arabia has been praised for its human rights efforts. I can almost feel you, the empathetic reader, seething over this insanity, but here is where I will give you an intelligent outlet for your anger. All member states, including Saudi Arabia, are bound by the Charter of the United Nations. Why is this significant? Well, the Charter of the United Nations enforces the freedom of religion on all member states, including Saudi Arabia, although it is somewhat toothless, but it does carry more weight than the ICCPR. My organization (Human Rights for Atheists, Agnostics and Secularists) is petitioning the UN to pressure member states to abolish blasphemy laws, the very laws that are presently responsible for tearing the flesh from Raif Badawi’s back, and also, we are seeking to have the UN amend its Charter to expressly protect not only freedom of religion, but more importantly, freedom FROM religion. This would make it more difficult for member states like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan to enact and enforce blasphemy laws, for the citizens of those nations would be granted the right to reject the religion of the state. We are doing all we can to gain support for the abolition of blasphemy laws and so far we have the support of Ricky Gervais, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and other notable celebrities, along with close to 13,000 signatures. However, if we wish to gain the attention of the UN and have them take our movement more seriously, we are going to need hundreds of thousands of signatures. We cannot do this without your help. Raif Badawi, Asia Bibi, and countless other victims of these archaic laws are counting on their fellow human beings, you, to free them from their living nightmares, nightmares that are the primary product of religious insanity run amok.
You are faced with a choice. You can simply read this little blog post, switch off your computer, turn on your TV and enjoy one of your favourite programs, read a book or whatever floats your boat, or you can let the injustice and inhumanity of these insane laws sink into the very fabric of your moral core and take action. It is up to you – do you wish to remain apathetic to the suffering of people like Raif Badawi, or do you want to shake the very foundations of such fiendish states to their very cores? Do you wish to let them hear your voice, your outrage and your contempt for such barbarity, or are you fine with it all? Will you help us free Raif Badawi and those other poor victims of religious insanity, or will you simply switch off?
I sincerely hope you help us! All you need to do is take a few minutes to sign and share our petition to abolish blasphemy laws.
Thank you for reading.
Founder, Human Rights for Atheists, Agnostics and Secularists.