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Dec 07 2011

Evil

More on Mansor Almaribe, sentenced to 500 lashes in Saudi Arabia for “insulting the companions of the prophet.”

THE family of a Victorian man sentenced to 500 lashes in Saudi Arabia has made an emotional plea to bring him home, fearing he will die in jail.

The Shepparton family of Mansor Almaribe, 45, who was also sentenced to a year in jail for blasphemy, will head to Canberra to plead for help.

Isaam Almaribe, 21, said his father suffered from diabetes and had broken bones in his back and knees from a car accident in Australia.

“Dad told us ‘Take me out of here as soon as possible because if I stay here I will die’ – that’s how bad his situation is,” Isaam said.

“He couldn’t survive 50 lashes let alone 500 lashes.”

And he was sentenced to this monstrous punishment for what, again?

“Apparently he was in Medina with a group of fellow Shiites…and he was quoting out of a book which insulted the Prophet Muhammad’s companion. This is how it’s being described. Apparently this is a deeply offensive thing to do in the Medina apparently for people of Sunni Islamic philosophy or religion.”

That’s from MP Sharman Stone, who is trying to get Kevin Rudd to intervene with the Saudis.

Mr Almaribe arrived in Australia in 1999 from Iraq as a refugee and brought his family over in 2006.

Isaam said the war in Iraq did not compare with what the family was going through now.

“We had different problems back then but now his life is on the line,” he said.

“To be lashed is barbaric and it’s really terrifying. Humans shouldn’t be treated that way.”

Wife Waffa Almaribe has not slept since her husband was detained while making the Hajj pilgrimage to Medina last month.

She collapsed in tears when she heard he would be lashed 500 times and serve a year in jail.

“It’s very hard for me and my family and it’s so terrible,” she said.

“My husband is a peaceful man who looked out for everybody. My children and I need him with us. I am very scared he won’t survive.”

The family said Mr Almaribe, a Shiite Muslim, was dragged away by religious police while praying in the Sunni-dominated country.

So that’s how it works - the hajj is a religious obligation if you can afford it, but if you go, you risk being flayed to death if you do the praying the wrong way.

It’s barbaric.

Thanks to Helen for the link.

 

10 comments

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  1. 1
    skepticlawyer

    You’re welcome, Ophelia. I’ll just repeat what I posted on your facebook page (I do not know this, obviously, it’s speculation):

    I suspect the problem may have been the way he recited the Koran. One of the main (and most obvious) differences between Sunnis and Shi’ites is the way both the Call to Prayer and the recitation are ‘pitched’ – the Shi’a version is about an octave higher. I can’t prove this is the case but Saudi Arabia is so batshit crazy that it wouldn’t surprise me.

  2. 2
    Friakel Wippans

    Saudi Arabia is so batshit crazy that nothing should surprise us, but in this specific case, there is really not much to to be surprised about. Just another manifestation of the Wahhabi’s ingrained hatred for the Shia. Sunnis and Shia have detested each other for the past thirteen centuries but the conflict between Wahhabi and Shia is on an altogether level. Wahhabi clerics elevate that hatred for the Shia to outright calls for genocide on a regular basis.
    .
    The connection to the Hajj is pretty intriguing though. Historically, the pilgrimage has been one of the very few long standing truces between the Sunni and the Shia, with unimpeded access and the right to accomplish the pilgrimage in their own ways without interferences for members of each denomination. And given their rather shaky legitimacy as guardians of Mecca and Medina, even the Saud clan has respected that principle relatively well so far, in spite of their nutjob Wahhabi allies.
    .
    But here, Mansor Almaribe has been sentenced to death essentially for being a Shia and that affair sends a message to all Shia not to do the pilgrimage under the random risk of death. That’s a pretty big deal and a very risky step for the Saud, a radical move that goes against the relatively accommodating policies pursued by the Saud with their own Shia minority over the past decade.
    .
    The uprising in Bahrain last spring, a Shia majority against Wahhabi rulers, may be playing a role. The Saud were mightily freaked out by the movement and their intervention to crush the revolt over there was explicitly cast as an anti-Shia action by the Saudi themselves. So that sentence against Mansor Almaribe may be in the continuation and the sign that the Wahhabi are now so worked up against the Shia that the Saud no longer care to even maintain the facade of toleration that surrounded the pilgrimage so far.
    .
    If that’s correct, expect fireworks.

  3. 3
    crocswsocks

    And the US trades with this country? Fuck.

  4. 4
    John Morales

    [meta]

    crocswsocks, duh.

    Aramco

  5. 5
    Ophelia Benson

    Thanks, Friakel. That makes sense of what seemed a puzzle – as the guardians of Mecca, do they really want to send the message that Shia risk their lives by going on the hajj?

    Religion: love and peace.

  6. 6
    kraut

    Religion: love and peace.

    To put it more strongly: Islam, religion of peace….my arse.

  7. 7
    Gregory in Seattle

    @crocswsocks #3 – Not only does the US trade with Saudi Arabia, they are our staunchest and most well supported Muslim ally. After 9/11 — 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudi, and the attacks were funded by Wahabbi extremists — members of the Saudi royal family were given a unique exemption to the “no fly” law and allowed to leave the US on their own private jets. Technically, foreign aid to Saudi Arabia is against the law, but business deals, including the sale of US arms to the theocratic aboslute monarchy and the sale of oil to the US, amounts to tens of billions of dollars every year.

  8. 8
    Didaktylos

    The only peace that religion brings bears a strong resemblance to the way that Caradoc of the Trinovantes described the Pax Romana when he was brought before Claudius Caesar.

  9. 9
    Stevarious, Public Health Problem

    It’s the religion of peace just like all the others. If everyone believed the same way, there would be peace – never mind that that is a literal impossibility.

  10. 10
    Friakel Wippans

    @Ophelia

    Another incident in the same period. A Shia imam from Canada who got beaten up pretty good.

    http://www.aljazeera.com/news/middleeast/2011/10/20111031175454687101.html

    It’s weird. I don’t know if those are just bad cases of the Mutaween getting out of hands or if it’s part of a trend. Saudi Arabia is such a effed-up place…

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