Leading Saudi Cleric Calls for the Death of Two Journalists — Unless They Repent

The struggle between reformers and religious fanatics in Saudi Arabia continues. Leading Wahhabi cleric Sheihk Abdurrahman al-Baraak called for the deaths of journalists Abdullah bin Bijad Al-Otaibi and Yusuf Abu al-Khayl after they published articles in Al-Riyadh newspaper, questioning the view that Christians and Jews are unbelievers. While in most nations this would be viewed as an interesting question for a scholastic debate, Abdurrahman al-Baraak would like it to end in a double beheading. Bin Nijad wrote an article entitled, “The Islam of the Sharia and the Islam of Struggle” and Abu al-Khayl wrote an article entitled “The Other in the Islamic Balance.” Not exactly racey stuff, but the fatwa declares them both to be un-Islamic and states that “those who are against the Islam should be judged to repent, otherwise they should be killed and denied the burial rituals.” This follows a series of similar stories of medieval responses by religious extremists in the Kingdom, click  here and here For the full story, click here.

5 thoughts on “Leading Saudi Cleric Calls for the Death of Two Journalists — Unless They Repent”

  1. Mr. Turley, I mean no disrespect whatsoever, but your reply to Susan is indicative of a lack of undestanding to the mindset and worldview of the Muslim people. As a former Muslim who converted to Christianity and one born to Palestinian Muslim parents, having grown up in the Middle East (I graduated High School in Tehran) and partly in the United States, I can assure you that their way of thinking does not even mirror the western worldview. Their culture is defined by Islam and assimilates the teachings of Islam so that it permeates and delineates how they process their thoughts and their lives. Sure, there will be a few, such as the reporters you referenced in your blog, but as a whole, they do not want what we want. Even those Arabs that come to the United States and live the American life, sending their children to American schools, keep their culture while in the privacy of their homes and amongst themselves, speak about Americans as nothing more than something to tolerate.

  2. Susan:

    There are remarkably brave journalists and women who are fighting for reform in the Kingdom. This is a country with a very large population of educated people, who privately complain about the restrictions. The fight of these reporters and feminists often make the work of civil libertarians in Western countries appear trivial in comparison.

    It will be interesting to watch as Saudi Arabia struggles with these modern reforms and archaic traditions. For reformers, however, there will remain tremendous dangers during any transition into more modern laws and tolerant policies.

  3. I’m certain that dateline is wrong. It is March 31, 1008!

    Susan,

    I can only speak to your question by giving you answers I’ve heard from other people who were similarly situated in their religion and or country. The people I know are willing to risk death because they are absolutely committed to change in their religion and/or nation. Many people do leave after a time because the stress of being under a death sentence is too much to bear or they might have friends or family whose lives they will not risk, even if they might be willing to risk their own.

    Jill

  4. One has to wonder why any rational journalist would want to remain in the hard-line Islamic countries where the smallest kind of disagreement puts them at risk of capital punishment. While I sympathize with and admire their bravery in their desire to educate and inform their countrymen (women included as well), I question why they have to put their own lives at risk. Is it because they want to remain, or because it is so difficult to leave these countries that they have no option but to remain? I ask because I honestly don’t know.

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