The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Justice - Saudi Style 

If you read my post on the Saga of the Booze Bombers, you'll already have some idea of our open, fair and measured system of Justice. However this latest case has me gasping in disbelief.

It's about Muhammad Al-Harbi, a Saudi high school teacher. He's a bit of a non-conformist, a bit awkward, perhaps. Doesn't follow the religious and political norms of our society. Big mistake.

So what's his tale?

Al-Harbi joined the staff of Al-Fowailiq High School after graduating from King Saud University in Riyadh. Based on his academic record and extracurricular activities, the school principal appointed Al-Harbi as school activities organizer.

OK so far.

Deeply disturbed by the explosions at the Al-Hamra Compound in Riyadh in 2003, Al-Harbi felt it his duty as an educator to enlighten his students and warn them of terrorism and its consequences. He went to great lengths by talking to students, hanging anti-terrorism signs around the school and speaking against terrorism.

Now I see. Unlike the 2004 explosions in a Riyadh compound, where mostly Arab Muslims died, and everyone got upset, Al Hamra housed mostly Westerners. Now I know from "small A" experience that some teachers encouraged class cheering after that event, just like after 9/11. So it's no wonder that Al Harbi's humanity is going to become a bit of a problem for him.

Apparently Al-Harbi’s actions and comments against terrorism upset a number of Islamic studies teachers known for their fundamentalist beliefs. After the Al-Hamra blast in Riyadh, Al-Harbi copied an article, “Cavemen Go to Hell” written by Saudi columnist Hammad Al-Salmi in Al-Jazirah newspaper, attacking terrorists and extremists. Al-Harbi posted the article on the school bulletin board but it was ripped off and torn to pieces.

"Islamic studies teachers" are invariably graduates of my favorite university, and are well-indoctrinated fanatics with small minds and IQ's to match. Free Speech is not their thing. Next Al Harbi dared to criticize a terrorist in morning assembly.

One of the Islamic studies teachers stopped Al-Harbi in a morning school assembly from speaking against Abdul Aziz Al-Muqrin, identified by the Saudi government as a terrorist and who was on the government’s list of wanted terrorists. The teacher told Al-Harbi that Al-Muqrin was a Muslim and that no matter what he had done, no one should speak against him.

Don't criticize terrorists, if they are Muslims. The Theology of the brain-dead.

But this guy was really making waves. No wonder his colleagues just needed an excuse to "get him". All it needed was some disgruntled students, some students who had...

....failed the monthly chemistry test. “They asked me to give them the exam again and when I refused, they went to the principal to complain but he upheld my decision,” he explained.

So the Principal backed him, but the I.S. teachers saw their opportunity.

The students’ actions were triggered by some Islamic studies teachers who used the students’ anger at Al-Harbi and convinced them to file the lawsuit.

Lawsuit? What lawsuit?

He was accused of mocking Islam, favoring Jews and Christians, preventing students from performing ablutions.

Note that there is no Police involvement here. Just a group of concerned citizens, upset about supposed attacks on their religion. But what if they can't make those charges stick?

He was also charged with studying witchcraft.

Nice one! Works every time! It wasn't just an old-fashioned Salem thing, you only have to read "Harry Potter" to realize the present-day threat from wizards and witches.

Never mind, he'll get a fair trial, Saudi-style.

Strangely, the judge did not question anyone from the school except for the students and the teachers who filed the lawsuit....The judge heard them individually and did not give the defendant the right to interrogate the witnesses,” said Al-Lahem. He also refused to acknowledge Al-Lahem as the defendant’s lawyer"

Why would you want to interrogate the witnesses? They are religious men, they must be telling the truth, by definition. Better not talk to his other colleagues or students, they will only lie, like this....

The physical education teacher at the school, however, said he had known Al-Harbi as a decent, respectable, cooperative individual. “One of the students came to me today and told me that they really missed their chemistry teacher,” he said.

Unreliable evidence. Let's get this guy sentenced, quickly.

Al-Harbi was sentenced to three years in prison and 750 lashes — 50 lashes per week for 15 weeks.

No, there is nothing wrong with your eyes. The sentence is...

three years in prison and 750 lashes — 50 lashes per week for 15 weeks.

To be carried out in the region that I have promised to mock no longer, so I report it without comment.

The lashes are to be given in the public market in the town of Al-Bikeriya in Al-Qassim.

Just be careful where you buy your vegetables.

For those who criticize my insistence on anonymity, perhaps this will be an additional explanation.

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