Target: King Salman of Saudi Arabia
Goal: Release Saudi man imprisoned for insulting Islam.
A Saudi blogger named Raif Badawi has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam. According to Amnesty International, Badawi is a peaceful activist who criticized religious authorities in Saudi Arabia. He has been accused of apostasy, which carries the death penalty. Although his floggings have been postponed several times, he still remains incarcerated and in poor health. The fact that the Saudis have continually postponed Badawi’s lashes is promising news, since it shows that they are beginning to bend to the will of the protesters. If more pressure is placed on them, they might just give in entirely and release him.
Badawi was the creator of the Free Saudi Liberals website, which encouraged open political and religious discussion. Although such discourse is sorely needed in the Middle East, authorities insist on banning it for religious reasons. It’s interesting how Saudi authorities are so quick to denounce extremist religious groups such as ISIS, and yet they do not seem to recognize corruption in their own ranks.
Open discourse on politics and religion would be extremely beneficial to an area that has traditionally suppressed free thought in its citizens. Badawi has the potential to do the world a great service, so long as he is permitted to. Please sign this petition to encourage the Saudi authorities to release Raif Badawi.
Dear King Salman,
I am surprised that the Saudi government has not released Raif Badawi yet. As you know, Badawi was detained for criticizing religious authorities and was subsequently sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. While I commend the Saudi government for postponing his lashes for medical reasons, I believe that Badawi should be released from prison immediately and all his charges should be dropped.
I believe that Mr. Badawi was acting in the best interests of his country. People should have the right to speak their mind and hold whatever views they wish. In fact, countries with this sort of freedom tend to be more peaceful than countries that don’t. Raif Badawi should be commended for his actions, not thrown in prison.
The Saudi government purports to be against ISIS, and yet its laws are awfully similar to the brutality and oppression that is seen in extremist religious groups. If you truly stand for progressive values, show the world that you can be merciful and open minded. If you are truly against extremism, prove yourself to be better than the extremists and release Raif Badawi.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: [AndreasS] via Flickr