Just days after extremists killed 12 people in Paris for insulting Mohammad in cartoons, the Saudi government has decided to go forward with its plan to flog a blogger for blasphemy. As previously discussed the abusive treatment of Raif Badawi, who founded the “Free Saudi Liberals” website. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes for blasphemy and his first 50 lashes will be carried out on Friday.
Badawi’s website criticized senior religious figures, including Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti. Rather than respond to the criticism, he was accused of insulting Islam and religious authorities. Originally, the Kingdom wanted him charged with apostasy and subject to the death penalty. However, he was convicted of insulting Islam and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes. The conviction led to worldwide condemnation and then an appellate court overturned the sentence. He was given a retrial and hit with an even harsher sentence.
He will be given the 1000 lashes over the course of 50 weeks by our closest ally in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia continues to impose Sharia law. The Kingdom not only denies free speech and the free exercise of religion but it supports the view that people can be executed for insulting religion.
Saudi Arabia fits the description of Justice Louis Brandeis in Olmstead v. United States :
The government is the potent omnipresent teacher. For good or ill it teaches the whole people by its example. Crime is contagious. If the government becomes a lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy. To declare that the end justifies the means — to declare that the government may commit crimes — would bring terrible retribution.