Meet the tireless women working to free Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair

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Waleed Abu al-Khair and Samar Badawi. Photo courtesy of Center for Inquiry.

Waleed Abu al-Khair and Samar Badawi. Photo courtesy of Center for Inquiry.

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Samar Badawi, Ensaf Haidar, and Elham Manea talk with RNS about their efforts to free Raif Badawi and Waleed Abu al-Khair—and explain what others can do to help.

  • “A humanistic Islam respects that faith matters, and does not deny it, but argues that faith should be based on rationality—for without it, it can lead to tyranny in the name of God. My religion is based on the principles of freedom of choice and rationality.”

    It’s funny Manea mentioned this because lately I’ve been thinking about religious humanism and whether or not that’s a good middle ground between organized religion and atheism. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still an atheist, but I find myself more angry with religious dogma than with theism in general.

  • I know what you mean, Trav. The world is full of theists whose beliefs I find frustratingly baseless, but the vast majority of them just want to live and let live. Even a lot of the people in my old fundamentalist Christian church have that attitude, privately, despite what their preachers might say in the pulpit on Sunday mornings. (And, to be fair, those preachers occasionally say decent, humanitarian things.) So, if gentle believers can find comfort and joy in their faith, more power to them.

    But these outrageous travesties that are done in the name of religion—sadly, a virulent strain of just one of those religions is what comes to mind these days—are sickening and disturbing. Perhaps social media and fine writers like Chris are just making us more aware of the kind of horrors that True Believers of all kinds have been inflicting on others throughout history. In any event, I have no patience for it, either.

  • Jack

    It’s telling how few posters respond to serious issues like that of Badawi. They’re too busy debating about such vital issues as cross-dressing auto mechanics from Outer Mongolia, the color of a hated priest’s vestments, and why evangelicals are really, really, I mean, really, really “judgmental.”

    The Badawi situation is horrific and disgraceful. The entire west should be standing for him.

  • Larry

    The issue is not that controversial. Not much discussion is possible on the subject. I can’t think of anyone who has something to be said in support of jailing people for espousing humanistic principles.

    Saudia Arabia is a theocratic craphole.There is nothing nice to say about the nation or its government.

    Frankly I think the idea of being able to put pressure on that regime is laughable. As long as the West considers them a source of readily accessible oil, there is no chance of official political pressure. As a dictatorship, Saudi Arabia never has a need to care much for public opinion. Dissent is handled through murder, imprisonment or re-directed outward in the form of supporting foreign jihad.

  • To outlaw blasphemy or atheism is to ensure dictatorship.

    People who believe in god are never satisfied to keep it to themselves – they won’t be happy unless everybody else believes in a god in the same way.

    Depressing that there are people in the modern world who are forbidden by law the right to think for themselves just because a dictator insists that ‘god’ requires attention!

    This proves the lie that “God is everywhere.” Apparently he disappears too easily.
    For if he was everywhere, nobody would have to give a damn about it.

  • Tammy

    I pray that help will be given to Ralif, his lawyer, and all the people that are standing up for human rights. The lashes are ‘cruel and unusual’ punishment. period. It is hard to even imagine. Mercy, please. Pardon, please! Amen…

  • These women need to decolonize their minds. Their brains have been taken over by white Western Eurocentric “human rights” dogma.

  • Jack

    Well, Larry, the times they are a changin’ in the energy business, and smarter Saudis know it and understand the ramifications politically.

  • Jack

    I presume you’re joking.

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