Saudi Arabia is again reminding the world of the medieval demands of its religious, Sharia legal system. Recently, Saudi Arabia enacted a law making atheism a form of terrorism. It was an act that reaffirmed the Kingdom as one of the most oppressive government’s in terms of free speech and free exercise of religion. The law was particularly ironic since Saudi Arabia and its extreme Wahhabi brand of Islam has been a major contributor to Islamic extremist and terrorism around the world. However, it is atheism that the Kingdom believes is the source of terrorism. Making good on that threat, a Saudi court has sentenced an atheist to 10 years in prison and 2,000 lashes for expressing his views on Twitter posts.
The widely ridiculed Saudi religious police have been monitoring social networks for people expressing their faith or lack of faith. In Saudi Arabia, the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice is a religious police force that has been a constant presence in the Kingdom arresting woman having coffee with colleagues or forcing young girls to burn to death in fire rather than run out without their scarves. Then there was the time that the religious police in Dammam marched into a popular dinosaur exhibit and shut it down without any explanation of why the dinosaurs threatened the virtue of good Muslims. Then there was the flogging of a women who insulted them. Then there are the round ups of religious people for simply praying at home. Then there is the arrest of a man for standing in line with his wife at a grocery store. Then there is the arrest of young men for simply dancing at a birthday party. The list goes on and on.
In this case, a 28-year-old man admitted to being an atheist and refused to repent. He insisted that he had a human right to speak about his own religious or anti-religious values. For that he will be jailed for 10 years and given 2,000 lashes as well as pay a fine for 20,000 riyals, about $5,300. Saudi Arabia of course is the first state to object to any slight or interference with the right of Muslims to worship in other countries. Our leading ally in the Middle East bars the construction of any church or non-Islamic religious place of worship in the Kingdom. While it continues to inspire Islamic extremists with its Wahhabi teachings, it has pursued atheists as terrorists because they want to go on the Internet to discuss their values and beliefs.