Thursday, April 27, 2017

No freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia

In New Zealand, we take the right to speak freely on religion for granted. But in Saudi Arabia, they execute people for it:

A man in Saudi Arabia has reportedly been sentenced to death on charges of apostasy after losing two appeals.

Several local media reports identified the man as Ahmad Al Shamri, in his 20s, from the town of Hafar al-Batin, who first came to the authorities’ attention in 2014 after allegedly uploading videos to social media in which he renounced Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.

He was arrested on charges of atheism and blasphemy and held in prison before being convicted by a local court and sentenced to death in February 2015.

This is utterly barbaric. But its also utterly stupid. To point out the obvious: when the only way people can practice their religion (or simply live in peace) is to overthrow the state, then that's what they try and do. Freedom of religion isn't just recognising a fundamental right - its also a pragmatic response to diversity.