Saudi Arabi Beheads “Sorcerer”

In another example of primitivism dressed up as law, a Sharia sentence was carried out in Saudi Arabia to cut off the head of a man accused of being a “sorcerer.” Abdul Hamid Bin Hussain Bin Moustafa al-Fakki was executed in a car park Medina as citizens looked on to support punishment for immoral conduct.


The article below shows the executioner conducting the execution with a sword.

Still awaiting execution is Lebanese TV host Ali Hussain Sibat, who was sentenced to death over making predictions of the future on his show.

King Abdullah refused demands to spare Abdul Hamid Bin Hussain Bin Moustafa al-Fakki and to end such execution for sorcery — an undefined crime. Police arrested the man in a sorcery sting where he was asked to concoct a spell that would cause the officer’s father to leave his second wife. After his arrest, he was beaten, signed a confession, and given a secret trial. A perfect storm of extrajudicial abuse.

Sorcery remains a common concern among Middle Eastern countries applying Sharia law (here and here).

Source: Daily Mail

20 thoughts on “Saudi Arabi Beheads “Sorcerer”

  1. Now why is the law system called “primitive”? Because it is not like ours? That sounds slightly ethnocentric. Why is it that because someone lives under religious law they are primitive?

  2. “Now why is the law system called “primitive”? Because it is not like ours? That sounds slightly ethnocentric. Why is it that because someone lives under religious law they are primitive?”

    I think it’s less the religious element and more the “Cutting off someones head for making a prediction” element. Which since that was something that was practiced in some ancient cultures fits nicely in “characteristic of early ages or of an early state of human development: primitive toolmaking.”

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/primitive

  3. Now I see why Republicans are so afraid of Sharia Law, because given their appreciation for dogma, they are likely to start applying it. Fortunately, this will never happen in Oklahoma..God Bless America!!

  4. There’s nothing “primitive” about this. If you look at religion through the lens of money, politics and power, then it’s perfectly “sophisticated” to behead the competition. The established religion needs to stamp out the uncontrollable competition – it siphons away money and power. In this case, the established religion happens to be Wahabist Sunni Islam, but that’s totally arbitrary – it could be Hinduism, it could be Christianity, it could be a traditional polytheistic belief system, it could be Soviet style Communism. Likewise the competition could be Christianity or Islam just as soon as it could be “traditional sorcery”.

    It’s like Pat Robertson slurring the voodoo practices of Haitians as “doing a deal with the devil” for political independence. Not only did Haiti throw off political connections to Europe, they also overthrew the capitalist institution of slavery, and on top of all that, they removed the control over the population that subscription to Western controlled Christianity would provide. Thus, for a money-making political actor like Robertson who is tied to the Western, capitalist, Christian money/power apparatus, it’s necessary to attempt to totally debase the religion of the people of that nation in order to help “his team” gain anything in that nation.

    Again, this action may be “fundamental”, it may be “base”, but it’s no more primitive than any other nitty-gritty political system.

  5. “A perfect storm of extrajudicial abuse.”

    “Extrajudicial abuse”… there… and here… We should spend more time looking homeward… We aren’t that much different really…

  6. “Now why is the law system called “primitive”? Because it is not like ours? ”

    No, because believing in “sorcerers” and cutting off someone’s head with a sword because they don’t comport with your beliefs about an imaginary magic man are primitive concepts that deserve zero accommodation in a modern scientific world.

  7. For one moment, assume that the man was not falsely accused. Assume he is guilty. If so, he broke the law and paid the consequence for it, which are no secret.
    Sorcery is a crime because it destroys peoples lives, manipulates them and takes advantage of them. He was not trying to do a good deed, he was trying to make sure that someones life was destroyed. If he was simply a total fraud and knows it, then he was stealing money from a person who (he assumed) was stupid and he did so knowingly. Sorcerers have power because people give it to them. I don’t know if any are ‘real’ and have real power related to evil, but nothing that they do is good, and we know that whether the power is real or imagined, that there is a long history of sorcery and witchcraft in Africa and it isn’t being used to the benefit of anyone. It is used to kill and destroy. Sorcery is destroying society in much of Africa as little children are accused of witchcraft by people who are exploiting the family. This guy was known to do this, he was caught and he was tried and punished. Not according to Western law, but according to the law of the land in which he lived and understood (as a Muslim, an Arabic man in Sudan, he totally knew better than to play this particular game).

    I think that the capital punishment, in public is a deterrent. Publicly naming and shaming those who hurt others has a long standing history of averting corruption and crime.

  8. There’s a problem with that, Michelle.

    Sorcery actually isn’t real.

    Since it isn’t real, there isn’t a history of sorcery doing anything, either positive or negative, to society. There is a history of people blaming what they cannot explain on the irrational and assigning a causation that is impossible let alone capable of forensic proof. Magic of any sort is a fantasy. Although any sufficiently advanced technology might appear as magic to someone incapable of understanding it, real magic does not exist.

    That he violated the law of the land is without question.

    That the law of that land is rooted in irrational belief rather than empirical forensic fact is another issue altogether.

    That such an irrational law led to a man’s death after a confession was literally beaten out of him is yet another issue.

    Sorry. Your defense of “sorcery is evil” is a weak defense of the actions of the state and exemplifies the very same “magical thinking” they used to rationalize killing a man for an impossible action after beating him for a confession. That you’re for capital punishment as a deterrent is your right (even though quite a bit of scientifically gathered evidence points to capital punishment – public or not – has little or no deterrent effect whatsoever), but “publicly naming and shaming those who hurt others” is a radically disparate punishment from taking their life but especially for an imaginary crime where the sentence is based on a coerced confession.

    Your reasoning is fundamentally flawed – a bizarre combination of the illicit negative fallacy and propositional fallacies – and your conclusion is delusional.

  9. Sorcery, like blasphemy, is a very strange “crime concept” created from nothing, meaning nothing, and based on nothing.

    The only people ever harmed by sorcery or blasphemy are those who were persecuted, tortured and even murdered. Whether the victim of the persecution believed in such magical concepts is irrelevant. The point is that the state or the religious establishment (in many cases both are one and the same), decided that engaging in a non-existent act constituted a crime worthy of the death penalty.

    And we are supposed to be the civilized species of mammal on the planet.

  10. Michelle:

    I think you make a good point about fraud and manipulation by “sorcerers” and their impact on people in countries whose people believe in that type of thing.

    So it seems to me what you are trying to say is that they do damage peoples lives.

    I guess the question to ask is does the damage they do rise to the level of a capital offense.

    Clearly the Saudis think sorcery is in competition with Islam and thus the death penalty is imposed.

    By the way the only sorcerer I know is Mickey Mouse and he wasnt very good at it.

  11. Bron, in that society, it is as serious as a heart attack to be using or claiming to have power that competes with God. In our western society, there are often those who think that rape or molestation of children deserves the death penalty because it is such a heinous thing. Others do not. Our official societal stance is that we don’t execute those people, yet the community at large is usually saying “hanging is too good for him” or they are discussing (I have heard this done) ways that he should basically be tortured “like he tortured that poor little girl”. Most a Now, the only things that get the death penalty are murder and treason. Why treason? Because you are betraying the entire society in which you live and endangering the very fabric of it with your actions. Sorcery does this. So does rape, adultery, etc. In our society, we have taken these things relatively lightly, yet we do see that it destroys families and damages relationships beyond any hope. These are betrayals of not only individuals, but the community.

    You don’t think it rises to that level? If you lived in a society that did believe it, and you were taking advantage of it to their detriment, and knew what the punishment was–your opinion doesn’t matter (sorry, I say that with all due respect) because you accepted the risk knowing the consequences.

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