back to article Saudi Arabia to flog man 1,000 times for insulting religion on Facebook

After Friday prayers at the Al-Jafali mosque in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, Raif Badawi will receive the first 50 lashes of his 1,000 stroke sentence for the crime of publishing blasphemy against Islam on Facebook. In May, Badawi, a father of three, was sentenced to five years in prison, and will receive 1,000 lashes to …

  1. LaeMing

    To paraphrase the villan from Speed.

    Poor nations are barbaric, Saudi Arabia is eccentric.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: To paraphrase the villan from Speed.

      Also, they sometimes accidentally the whole skyscraper.

    2. WatAWorld

      Re: To paraphrase the villan from Speed.

      Protecting the Wahhabists and Salfists in Saudi Arabia is what the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were/are all about.

      Our troops, our sons, fight and die to protect Saudi Arabia and its domestic and exported religious extremism.

      1. Seth Johnson

        Re: To paraphrase the villan from Speed.

        Nothing to do with oil and US hegemony then?

        Or (choke) because Saddam had WMDs?

        Really the American's are happy with a stable ruling body that they ultimately control that will maintain a regularly supply of oil. It's nothing to do with their 'brand' of Islam because a ruling elite wouldn't espouse something that challenged their stability. Islam specifies a 'Caliphate' from the people, never a 'Kingdom' which is why the Saudi's grip will fail eventually as soon as the west withdraws its support. IMHO.

      2. Jaybus

        Re: To paraphrase the villan from Speed.

        And here I thought that the wars were to protect Saudi Arabia and its oil.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "right to freedom of expression"

    As this right doesn't exist in Saudi Arabia, this sort of punishment isn't all that surprising. You either need to leave, keep quiet, or if you are exceptionally brave like I assume this guy was, you risk the punishment to spread your mind and hope it results in change.

    1. Brandon 2

      Re: "right to freedom of expression"

      I get your point, and agree with you. At the risk of being a pedant, a government cannot grant rights. They can only help protect them, or trample all over them, as is the case in Saudi Arabia. A right, granted by the government, can be taken away by the government, and it is thus, not a right, it is a privilege.

      1. WatAWorld

        A right is something that is inherently deserved.

        A privilege is something given that is not inherently deserved.

        Barbaric regimes deny rights and claim they are privileges.

        If shutting up to stay safe was the right thing to do the UK would still be in the dark ages like Saudi Arabia.

        1. Captain Hogwash

          Re: the UK would still be in the dark ages

          There's some evidence we are heading back there.

          I like your post. Upvoted.

        2. Jaybus

          Re: A right is something that is inherently deserved.

          Of course the difference of opinion is in which things are rights and which things are privileges. In Saudi Arabia rights are defined by religion. No doubt the religion calls for 1,000 lashes for his "crimes". By contrast, in Western nations we stick to the time honored principles of "might makes right" and "money is power".

        3. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: A right is something that is inherently deserved.

          I wonder what would happen if you stood up in an English secondary or tertiary educational institution and said you thought Jesus was the only way to eternal life and sodomy was wrong.

          Whether or not you think those statements are true, I think you'd quickly find find the limits of "freedom of speech" when departing from state-sponsored moral orthodoxy are not as far away as you might imagine. There can be no discussion of such matters, certainly not by staff and not by students either.

          We aren't into flogging, of course, that's barbaric. We don't do evil by getting our hands bloody, we do it by shuffling bits of paper - an academic suspension, a dossier slanted in a convenient direction, business deals which bring in millions of GBP of benefit to one group, at the expense, hardship or deaths of others.

      2. Dr. Mouse

        Re: "right to freedom of expression"

        A right, granted by the government, can be taken away by the government, and it is thus, not a right, it is a privilege.

        While I do agree very strongly with the "right" to free speech, and many others, they are very new concepts, and I would guess that the majority of the populations are not legally or physically entitled to them. To most of the world, these are privileges, ideals to wish for, or pipe-dreams, if they are thought of at all.

        We see them in "the West" as rights, but this is only because of the last few hundred years they have become enshrined as such. In fact, these are not rights. Go to a war torn country in Africa, or to China, or to North Korea and you will see this. Hell, we do not even truly have the right to free speech in the UK: Even without looking at the laws on terrorism and religious hatred, look at the laws on slander etc. (and many other areas) and you will see that the "right" is limited.

        Many of the "human rights" we hold so dear are privileges granted by our governments, society and moral code. I believe they should be universal rights, but they are not for all but the privileged few in "Western Democracies"(TM).

        1. Seth Johnson

          Re: "right to freedom of expression"

          Just a thought. There are still books, films and people that are banned from the UK.

          One famous case was an Irish comedian (writer?) who Margaret Thatcher didn't approve of and so was banned for coming into the country based on what they might say.

          Obviously I don't agree with the Saudi regime but it is more like a sliding scale and we're less censoring than they are rather than full on black vs white. Interested in people's responses on this and happy as always to be corrected (sorry I can't find details of the example mentioned).

      3. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

        Re: "right to freedom of expression"

        At the risk of being a pedant, a government cannot grant rights.

        Quite the opposite, ALL civil rights are granted by government.

        An interesting corollary of this fact is that only a government can take your rights away. The reason why this is interesting is that those same governments do like to make statements like "this act of terror is an attack on this or that right". Yet, it is entirely up to the government itself to either retain the right in question or curtail or revoke it altogether. No terrorist can technically do it.

        As the result, if a terrorist attack leads to a reduction in our rights - the culprit is the government, not the terrorist. People mostly do not realise or remember that, unfortunately...

        1. lorisarvendu

          Re: "right to freedom of expression"

          "Quite the opposite, ALL civil rights are granted by government."

          Correct. It galls me when heated discussions about the most "basic" rights (right to live, right to freedom ect) almost always end up with someone using the phrase "God-given". I always reply that since I (and many other people like me) don't believe in any kind of God, where does that leave us?

          The closest thing we have to "God-given" rights are those enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...which only apply to you if your Government has agreed to abide by them.

          1. croc

            Re: "right to freedom of expression"

            ""Quite the opposite, ALL civil rights are granted by government."

            Correct. It galls me when heated discussions about the most "basic" rights (right to live, right to freedom ect) almost always end up with someone using the phrase "God-given""

            I'd make the point that 'rights' as such do not even exist until someone tries to limit them. Much like air, everybody used it but no one ever questioned it for many thousands of years. Therefore, it did not really exist, it was just there. So too with, say, 'Freedom of Speech'. Gog and Magog went around 'f this' and f that' and Gung (the tribal leader) finally had a gut's full and said 'Gog, Magog, I hereby forbid you to express the 'f' word. Thus began expression, by the limiting of it.

          2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

            Re: "right to freedom of expression"

            "The closest thing we have to "God-given" rights are those enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights...which only apply to you if your Government has agreed to abide by them."

            The UDHR applies to all people, whether or not their governments have signed it. It is the duty of the signatories to use whatever means possible to ensure all humans everywhere have these rights, regardless of what their governments happen to feel about the topic.

            That requires no god, nor any government. It is a universal ethical obligation. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance; those of us who are free may be called upon to lay down our lives to protect and/or ensure the freedom of others.

            Governments that recognize the UDHR and try to abide by it are merely protecting their own power. Without such commitment, they will be removed from power, eventually, and replaced with individuals more capable of supporting the universal rights of the people they serve.

            Governments serve. The people rule. No other configuration is to be tolerated.

        2. P. Lee Silver badge

          Re: "right to freedom of expression"

          >Quite the opposite, ALL civil rights are granted by government.

          Perhaps in Europe. In the UK, everything which is not explicitly prohibited is allowed.

          That's why a "bill of rights" is to be rejected in principle. The state should not be granting rights, it should be circumscribing prohibited behaviours. If the state grants rights, they essentially own you.

          The past few British governments have tried to circumvent this by passing vague and onerous laws that make almost everyone a criminal. It's wrong, but don't let it drive further loss of privilege.

          1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

            Re: "right to freedom of expression"

            Perhaps in Europe. In the UK, everything which is not explicitly prohibited is allowed.

            No, it's not that. I mean that, as a matter of technical principle, all individual's rights exist by the grace of the government.

            In the absence of civil society (and therefore a government) your rights are determined by your physical and mental strength. You have absolute rights to grab and try to hold on to anything you like if you can defend it. But anyone with a bigger, err... right can grab that thing and take it away from you. That will be his right.

            In a civil society there is a government which is the strongest person of all and as such they have rights over everything and everyone. For practical considerations (to maintain social cohesion, to motivate workforce etc.) the government may grant individuals certain rights (thereby diminishing their own) or they may not.

            So, any rights an individual citizen has, have a priori been given to him by the government. Not by virtue of him being a human or because he was born with a beautiful eyes or through the charitable disposition of Gaia or anything...

      4. frobnicate

        Re: "right to freedom of expression"

        > At the risk of being a pedant, a government cannot grant rights.

        I find it hard to believe people still subscribe to this 18 century nonsense about "natural rights" (which was a politically charged agitation piece in the first place) ignoring all the overwhelming historical evidence to the contrary. Systems of rights and responsibilities are always created by authority, from the earliest theocratic villages in Mesopotamia to the European parliaments, created by the kings to curb nobles.

        1. Denarius Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: "right to freedom of expression"

          @frobnicate

          More the other way round. Parliaments were used by nobles to limit the absolute monarch. Parliaments more often existed by custom or culture. Not that kings did not wind up using the parliaments to control nobles. Our current political problems in the West are that parliaments are now funded by oligarchies and fed mis-information by spooks

        2. Jaybus

          Re: "right to freedom of expression"

          To curb the nobles? Are you sure it wasn't to avoid the fate of King Louis XVI as the "infection" of democracy spread across Western Europe and North America?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "right to freedom of expression" @Doug S

      And do you have the right of freedom of expression in the UK?

      While the sentences may not be so barbaric in the UK say the wrong thing and you will find yourself in court without the defense of freedom of expression.

      1. DavCrav Silver badge

        Re: "right to freedom of expression" @Doug S

        "And do you have the right of freedom of expression in the UK?"

        Yes, we do. It is balanced against other rights, but it exists. It's called Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights. As I assume you are a trolling American, that's the same document where state-sanctioned murder is forbidden, and the US still executes minors, placing it on the following illustrious list of countries that have executed minors since 1990:

        US, China, Iran, Pakistan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Congo, Sudan, Nigeria.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: "right to freedom of expression" @Doug S

          Article 10 is limited and does not give you the right to freedom of expression, it is primarily intended to protect freedom of the press and whistler blowers. Other than that it basically says you can say what you want if it is within the law, it will not protect you against, for example, hate speech.

          1. DavCrav Silver badge

            Re: "right to freedom of expression" @Doug S

            "Article 10 is limited and does not give you the right to freedom of expression, it is primarily intended to protect freedom of the press and whistler blowers."

            Article 10:

            "1. Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises."

            1. Richard Barnes

              Re: "right to freedom of expression" @Doug S

              The right to freedom of expression is not absolute.

              For example, the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 part 3A says "A person who uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred."

              There are also numerous other English laws that circumscribe completely free speech, most notably the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 Section 4A which states:

              (1) A person is guilty of an offence if, with intent to cause a person harassment, alarm or distress, he— (a) uses threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.

              1. P. Lee Silver badge

                Re: "right to freedom of expression" @Doug S

                > (b) displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting, thereby causing that or another person harassment, alarm or distress.

                Well, that means Charlie Hebdo should being charged, under English law. Its reasonable to deduce that they insulted the prophet and caused distress. (distress = sorrow / pain and suffering affecting the mind.)

                And what baloney is the Racial and Religious Hatred Act language, relying on the motive for displaying threatening material? Either it is threatening and there is guilt, or it isn't threatening, and there is no guilt. Don't bring motives into it. "Intent" should only be applicable if there is a "intent" to commit a further crime. The inclusion of the qualifier looks like the reverse of what it should do. It should further limit the scope of the offence, but I suspect its used to widen the scope - "The defendant swore at the plaintiff because he is black and should therefore got to jail." Rubbish, either the swearing warrants jail, or it doesn't. Motive is irrelevant. If someone murders someone else because of their skin colour, they aren't "more guilty" than if they did it while trying to steal a handbag.

                Stupid and dangerous laws.

              2. Master Rod

                Re: "right to freedom of expression" @Doug S

                So if I call someone an asshole, I'm causing someone distress, and can be guilty of some infraction of the law? Was this snippet of law written by an asshole to protect assholes? In the US, the most mouthing out will get you is a pop in the mouth. Then again depending on what you say can get you shot....

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "right to freedom of expression" @DavCrav

              Why do you only quote half of it?

              2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

              In other words your freedom is not absolute. Try denying the holocaust then see how far your freedom of expression gets you.

              1. DavCrav Silver badge

                Re: "right to freedom of expression" @DavCrav

                "Why do you only quote half of it?

                2. The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

                In other words your freedom is not absolute. Try denying the holocaust then see how far your freedom of expression gets you."

                I only quoted half of it to disprove your statement that Article 10 doesn't apply to ordinary people. It does. As for the second part modifying your right, 1) Holocaust denial is not a crime in the UK, and 2) there is nowhere in the world with an absolute right to say anything. The standard "fire" in a crowded theatre example will have you arrested in the US for public endangerment. So please shut up about the fact that because there are certain narrow exemptions for various safety, or things that are there to try to stop the rise of Nazism again (there is great debate as to whether Holocaust denial should actually be a crime, by the way), that we are as bad as Saudi Arabia. Try getting a clue.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: "right to freedom of expression" @DavCrav

                  >I only quoted half of it to disprove your statement

                  I think everybody knows when you only quote half of something it's because what you miss out proves you to be wrong and you hope nobody will notice.

                  >there is nowhere in the world with an absolute right to say anything

                  So we can take it that this includes the UK

                  >So please shut up about the fact that because there are certain narrow exemption

                  I see, can't prove your point logicall so you resort to bullying methods. Nevertheless, very ironic in a discussion about freedom of expression you ask someone to shut up then go on to admit there are limits. You either have freedom of expression or you don't any qualifications no matter how narrow you seem to think they are, even if it's only one, means you do not have such freedom.

                  >Try getting a clue

                  Ouch, that hurt. Oh, wait, no it didn't, I've been insulted by better.

                  I think the best thing you can do with your comment is delete it before anybody else sees how you can't form a coherent argument without contradicting yourself.

        2. Master Rod

          Re: "right to freedom of expression" @Doug S

          We don't cuddle criminals like you Brits do, We terminate their worthless life because they have done unspeakable horror, and are of no use to a civilized society. The problem here in Texas is that we don't use it enough. Our right to own and carry guns has resulted in less crime in the last few years. Break into a home, you get shot. Break into a vehicle, you get shot. Harass someone, you could get shot. So, let's mind our manners shall we....

          Master Rod

          1. h4rm0ny

            Re: "right to freedom of expression" @Doug S

            >>"Break into a home, you get shot. Break into a vehicle, you get shot. Harass someone, you could get shot. So, let's mind our manners shall we...."

            This all seems to assume that the proportionate response for any of these things - such as not minding your manners, apparently - is to die.

        3. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

          Re: "right to freedom of expression" @Doug S

          "It's called Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights"

          The same human rights convention that your most prominent politicians are trying desperately to get the UK out of?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What do you expect

    What do you expect from a society that won't let women drive cars. They're still stuck on the Middle Ages, and insult all women, and everyone that thinks for themselves.

    1. web_bod
      Coat

      Re: What do you expect

      You can hardly blame their medieval behaviour - by their reckoning it's 1436

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What do you expect

      "What do you expect from a society that won't let women drive cars"

      Far fewer accidents. Much better parking. More confident driving leading to better traffic flow.

      1. h4rm0ny
        Paris Hilton

        Re: What do you expect

        >>"Far fewer accidents. Much better parking. More confident driving leading to better traffic flow."

        Riiiiggght. Because insurance companies give us lower prices out of the goodness of their hearts... ;)

        Paris because she's the only female icon vs. 7 males ones! Boo! Patriarchal El. Reg! ;)

        1. Wilseus

          Re: What do you expect

          Riiiiggght. Because insurance companies give us lower prices out of the goodness of their hearts... ;)

          Not anymore they don't, the EU banned that a couple of years back. Apparently it's sexist.

          1. phil dude
            Boffin

            Re: What do you expect

            As it should be. Insurance rates should be exactly the same as everyone else...based upon your driving history!!

            Hence, being 17 will carry a heavy premium penalty as you have provided no history. If you have a willing parent (!), you can drive on their policy. The understanding is that the parents are covering some of the liability.

            It should be obvious to the reader that in this case, basing premiums upon environment and history, is a fair and practical approach - hence, insurance companies MAKE MONEY. Actuarism (I think that's the word for the work of the Actuary) is a very mathematical field, because the numbers don't lie.

            Hence, it is sexist. It is actually just plain wrong. That is why I think that robot cars will change the world. If you grab the wheel it is one price, and if the car drives it is another price.

            Who among us not named Clarkson, will grab the wheel and pay the fine...?

            P.

    3. Peter Simpson 1
      Joke

      Re: What do you expect

      What do you expect from a society that won't let women drive cars.

      Ah...but it's for their own good. You know, to protect them.

  4. Ian Michael Gumby

    Let this be a lesson to all...

    ""It is horrifying to think that such a vicious and cruel punishment should be imposed on someone who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression.""

    Really?

    Do you not think that other nations don't have the same laws protecting your freedom to express your opinion?

    This is really nothing new... There was this guy named Luther? Remember him?

    The really ironic thing is that if he were in Egypt, he would be free to make that statement.

    After what happened in France, Egyptian leader Sisi is critical of Muslims staying silent on the issue of the violence.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Holmes

      Re: Let this be a lesson to all...

      > Luther

      A radical. Basically the ISIS guy of back then. Unkorked the demons of religious war. Couple of centuries of pro-cleaning came in his wake. Now can be admired on pictures and as statues.

      Luther and even Calvin had no intention of fragmenting Christendom; on the contrary, each set out to reform a unified Christian Church. But the consequences of their revolution was to open Pandora's box. Whereas frictions and heresies had before been either stamped out or accommodated within the Church, now Christianity split apart in literally hundreds of different sects, some quite bizarre, each propounding different theologies, ethics, and prescriptions for social life. ... If reason cannot be used to frame an ethic, this means that Luther and Calvin had to, in essence, throw out natural law, and in doing so, they jettisoned the basic criteria developed over the centuries by which to criticize the despotic actions of the state. Indeed, Luther and Calvin, relying on isolated Biblical passages rather than on an integrated philosophic tradition, opined that the powers that be are ordained of God, and that therefore the king, no matter how tyrannical, is divinely appointed and must always be obeyed ... Thus, on a crucial question which had vexed scholastics for centuries: whether private property is natural or conventional, i.e. merely the product of positive law, Luther was characteristically anti-intellectual. He was not interested in such questions; therefore they were trivial: 'it is vain to mention these things; they cannot be acquired by thought, ...'. As Dr Gary North has commented, 'So much for 1500 years of debate'. All in all, Richard Tawney's assessment of Luther on these matters is perhaps not an overstatement: "Confronted with the complexities of foreign trade and financial organization, or with the subtleties of economic analysis, he [Luther] is like a savage introduced to a dynamo or a steam engine. He is too frightened and angry even to feel curiosity. Attempts to explain the mechanism merely enrage him; he can only repeat that there is a devil in it, and that good Christians will not meddle with the mystery of iniquity."

      In: Murray N. Rothbard in "Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought, vol 1" 137ff.

      Such is lifethe human mind.

      After what happened in France, Egyptian leader Sisi is critical of Muslims staying silent on the issue of the violence.

      ...he is presumably VERY critical of Muslims NOT staying silent on the issue of GOVERNMENTAL violence.

      1. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Let this be a lesson to all...

        >Unkorked the demons of religious war.

        Yeah - all those Crusades and heretic persecutions that happened in the centuries before him - totally Luther's fault.

        Incidentally, in future centuries your 'economist' heroes will have the same moral stature as all those religious nutters do today, as a prime source of Stories That Make People Do Stupid Shit.

      2. P. Lee Silver badge

        Re: Let this be a lesson to all...

        >Unkorked the demons of religious war.

        Say what? Luther and who's army did what? Luther's 95 theses which he nailed to the cathedral door were a revolt against the theological and financial corruption of the existing church of his time. He still considered himself a member of the church. Of course he wasn't perfect, but suggesting that he was responsible for religious war is like saying the suffragettes caused the Gulf war because women failed to vote against Bush & Blair.

        Rothbard was a revisionist historian; 'nuff said.

        Now for a little analysis of the the behaviour of "the religious."

        Take a look at the life of the founder of Islam and see if there is a link to the behaviour of the House of Saud. Mohammed wrote the Koran all on his own. He then went on to become a military commander, running an insurgency. At Badr (AD624) he only had around 300 men, but by the time he attacked Mecca six years later he had around 10,000 in his army. How would you expect the followers of this particular religion to behave?

        There's a qualitative difference with Christianity, but there are some parallel lessons to be seen. Christ doesn't try to form an army, chastises his followers for attacking those coming to arrest him and fixes the wounds his followers inflict on his enemies. Christianity doesn't really become corrupted until Constantine makes it his state religion. Does Constantine hear the Gospel, repent of his sins and follow the teachings of Jesus? No, he has a dream that he will win a battle if he puts a cross on his flag. He carries on building temples to pagan gods. He gives the Bishop of Rome a palace and power and interestingly, "Christianity" acquires lots of the theology, titles and practises of the pagan world. Unlike in Islam, this is a corruption of Christianity, not the ethics of its founder.

        It turns out that people with power and money try very hard to keep them and increase them and they will try very hard to neutralise those who threaten their way of life. That's true of the House of Saud, the Bishop of Rome, the European rulers of the middle ages, the Russian plutocrats and the American captains of industry and politics.

        The question is, what is in a particular world-view that limits these vices? Look at the content of people's ethics system, what/who it is based on, and you can determine what their values are and if they are living up to their values or not.

      3. Lamont Cranston

        Re: Luther. Basically the ISIS guy of back then.

        Good thing Superman was always around to stop him, then.

    2. The Dude

      Re: Let this be a lesson to all...

      Right you are. In Canada, you might be jailed, deported, or just have your life and family and career and finances ruined, for much the same thing. Arguably, this is not as bad as a flogging, but certainly the jail term is a risk in Canada for "hate speech".... using whatever loose definition is in vogue this week.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Let this be a lesson to all...

        Canada - a group of up to 13 apparently immature Dentistry students made some unsavory and plainly stupid comments on (guess where?) Facebook.

        To be crystal clear, I would never defend their idiotic postings, their very bad decision making (seriously? On Facebook?), or the attitudes represented in the postings by some members of the Facebook group.

        That said, there is a frightening lynch mob out to ruin the lives of these foolish Dentistry students. The prevailing attitude seems to be seeking life-changing punishment. ...for making stupid posts on Facebook, or perhaps even for simply being a member of that group on Facebook.

        If canes were at hand, the furious crowd would cane them.

        1. WatAWorld

          The dental student fiasco is an illustration of why the term "feminazi" strikes such a tender nerve

          Canada's dental student fiasco is an illustration of why the term "feminazi" strikes such a tender nerve among female extremists -- it is so darn accurate.

          As if female dental students don't gossip to one another about their dates and their dates sexual abilities -- male sexual performance is not an uncommon topic among anglophone female Canadians despite it being a betrayal of a confidence.

          The misandry of the Canadian legal system ought to be a major issue, but we pretend it doesn't exist.

          However misandry is not religious zealotry, its a form of sexism. We in Canada can say what we want about Christianity.

          Judeaism and Islam -- we're less free to talk, but still no 1000 lashes. You might loose your job, but there will be no days in jail either.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The dental student fiasco

            The problem is that feminism has stopped being a motivation. These days it is only ever an excuse.

          2. James Micallef Silver badge

            Re: The dental student fiasco...

            "can say what we want about Christianity.

            Judeaism and Islam -- we're less free to talk, but still no 1000 lashes. You might loose your job, but there will be no days in jail either."

            An interesting point regarding what speech is free and what isn't, even in countries that nominally protect free speech. In most of the west it's OK to lampoon Christianity because it's been done for ages and people no longer care, that boat has sailed long ago. It's become more normal to lampoon and criticize Islam, and in fact following Charlie Hebdo attacks, I think this is going to become even more prevalent. On the other hand, lampooning / criticizing Judaism / Israel (especially in the US) will quickly draw accusations of Anti-Semitism. It's also considered sexist to make politically incorrect statements about women, but less so when the targets are men.

            I think people should basically just stop being so goddamned* sensitive and take themselves a bit less seriously

            * goddamned / allahdamned / yahwehdamned ???

            1. Santa from Exeter

              Re: The dental student fiasco...

              "goddamned / allahdamned / yahwehdamned"

              Same thing, they're all the same God after all

              1. P. Lee Silver badge

                Re: The dental student fiasco...

                >>"goddamned / allahdamned / yahwehdamned"

                >Same thing, they're all the same God after all

                Not even close.

                Jews & Christians claim the same God in the OT, but both Jews and Muslims reject Christ as God and Jews and Christians reject Allah.

                This isn't just a "we have the right name for God" moment, Allah and Christ/Yahweh have completely different views and principles, as expressed in their scriptures.

            2. DJO Silver badge

              Re: The dental student fiasco...

              it's OK to lampoon Christianity

              Right, any religion that is so weak it cannot stand a little ridicule is probably a waste of time.

          3. Lamont Cranston
            FAIL

            Re: "feminazi" strikes such a tender nerve

            "feminazi" doesn't so much "strike a tender nerve", more it serves as a handy marker that the speaker doesn't really have an opinion worth listening to.

            Believing that men and women should occupy an equal position in society, does not make one a misandrist. Nor does the condemnation of sexual violence.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: "feminazi" strikes such a tender nerve

              Believing that men and women should occupy an equal position in society, does not make one a misandrist. Nor does the condemnation of sexual violence.

              Sadly, neither of those things is a requirement to be a feminist. If only they were.

      2. WatAWorld

        Canada is not like that. I live here and knock religion all the time. No jail for me yet.

        Canada is not like that. I live here and knock religion all the time. No jail for me yet.

        And books by prominent atheists are readily available. I've got a few by Dawkins and Hitchens myself, from bookstore.

        You can even borrow them from public libraries.

      3. James Micallef Silver badge

        Re: Let this be a lesson to all...

        Hate speech laws are treading a fine line between what is protected free speech and what is not. It's a difficult question with no easy answers. My personal thought is that anyone should be free to state facts, their own interpretations / understanding of facts, and opinions - Mr X is a rapist, Group Y are terrorist paedos, Ms Z is a slut. If facts can be / have been proven in court, any such statements should be immune from slander / libel laws. Opinions that are racist, misogynist, homophobic etc should NOT be punishable by law but SHOULD exclude their bearer of any role in civilized society (unfortunately not always the case, but the arguments of these hateful people are best debunked in public than left to fester in private).

        However, I believe that speech that is threatening, encouraging or promoting violence should be punishable by law. Where exactly to draw the line is a bit fuzzy but that line should be there. I'm also wary of jailing anyone found guilty of such incitement, as this tends to make the person a 'martyr'. It would probably be a LOT more effective (not to mention entertaining) if the sentence for hate speech were for the guilty party to have to serve community service in service of the group they were targeting.

        * Bit of a side-track but I'm also completely against totally open 'free speech' where the speaker can conveniently hide behind a curtain. For example US now allows rich donors to donate an unlimited number of funds to a political candidate through a 3rd-party organisation under the guise of 'free speech', except that the 'speaker' isn't immediately identifiable, a practice that clearly corrupts democratic best practice.

  5. Brent Longborough
    Pint

    Yo, Prophet Mohammed...

    ... peace be upon you, you really ought to do something to improve the quality of these followers of yours. Shame on you for leaving your holy places in the hands of these loathsome people.

    1. ian 22

      Re: Yo, Prophet Mohammed...

      It must be depressing to be loved by idiots....

    2. James Micallef Silver badge

      Re: Yo, Prophet Mohammed...

      Required reading - Terry Pratchett's "Small Gods". Explains everything about the relationship between gods, prophets and religions

      1. Kane Silver badge

        Re: Yo, Prophet Mohammed...

        Are you a philosopher? Where's your sponge?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What does it say about Twats in the Quran?

    "...which is praised as the West's partner in The War Against Terror (TWAT)."

    50 lashes for the twats

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What does it say about Twats in the Quran?

      ""...which is praised as the West's partner in The War Against Terror (TWAT)."....50 lashes for the twats

      OK, I'm happy to hand over Tony Blair for his 50 lashes, on condition that it's filmed in HD so I can enjoy every stroke. In slo-mo. And notorious twat David Cameron can also be handed over as well for suppressing the Chilcot enquiry report.

  7. Brian Miller

    A good use for TOR

    Raif Badawi should have run his websit through TOR. Maybe that wouldn't have helped in the long run, as I don't know how many resources the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice would have thrown at it to track it down.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meanwhile in the uk... Police Scotland are now monitoring Social Media for any offensive comments

    Oh Yes, here it is:

    https://twitter.com/policescotland/status/549955567960465408

    I don't think we have started lashing people yet though...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Meanwhile in the uk... Police Scotland are now monitoring Social Media...

      "I don't think we have started lashing people yet though..."

      You mean re-started. It was only in 2003 that physical punishment in all UK schools was made illegal. England first enacted partial bans from 1987. Before that there were regular school beatings as part of "discipline". There is some cultural evidence that schools with a professed strong Christian religious ethos were the most severe. Celibate monks and nuns are often singled out in people's memories as being particularly sadistic.

      The "birch" as a judicial punishment ceased in Britain between 1948 and 1962 - the Isle of Man 1976.

      There are those who believe that children need physical abuse to make them behave. In my experience it just bred more bullies. Those children learned their lesson - to bolster their own self-worth by using physical abuse against those who were younger, weaker, or lacking official authority.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Meanwhile in the uk... Police Scotland are now monitoring Social Media...

        Having been on the wrong end of the headmaster's cane or slipper too many times to remember, you're talking utter crap in the last lines of your comment.

        As a form of control or method to modify behavoir it was useless, it simply doesn't work, that's why it's widespread use died out before tha ban, that, and the old practitioners died out too.

        And for the Scottish Police, you bunch of useless fcuktards, go out and catch some real lawbreakers, put your cups of tea down, earn your over generous salaries and remember you serve the public, uphold the law, you aren't there to make it up!

    2. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: Meanwhile in the uk... Police Scotland are now monitoring Social Media for any offensive

      You mean re-started lashing, right?

      It took a case brought by Italian parents in front of the Eu court of Human Rights and SIX (yes, SIX!!!) years after losing this case for UK to ban corporal punishment in schools. The UK government also defended the case to the last minute by all means necessary.

      My SWMBO pinched Roald Dahl's autobiography from the daughter during the hols. She is still depressed after reading the description of systematic, vicious and unrelenting abuse which was permeating the UK education system in those days. All I could tell to her on that was: "Well, I have told you more than once that 'The Wall' is a documentary".

    3. Handy Plough

      Re: Police Scotland are now monitoring Social Media for any offensive comments

      Report them for spam...

  9. phil dude
    WTF?

    think of the children....

    ....being brainwashed with their parents intolerance.

    I don't care what you believe, that is your choice. So long as you:

    a) don't try and use your delusions to break the law

    b) don't ask for special treatment because of your fantasies

    c) don't use children to propagate your particular delusions.

    The secular process hasn't gone far enough, when scribbling on paper can evoke such a violent response as those criminals (nothing more or less - criminals of dubious mental stability and astonishing brutality), in Paris.

    If this sounds intolerant there is an upside. If a society is inclusive for who YOU are, and not WHERE you are from, WHAT you look like , or what your PARENT's claimed to believe. Perhaps this first step would shine a light on the parts of society that are hidden behind ideological platitudes that allow institutional intolerance.

    John Lennon - another person gunned down by a criminal nutter

    P.

    1. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: think of the children....

      Ah, John Lennon. Famed member of the Beatles.

      What great lyrics they wrote, "Mother Mary came to me, whispering words of wisdom..."

      Then there is George Harrison's worship song, "My sweet Lord... Hare Krishna."

      This is the group that went and composed a lot of their songs for the White Album and Abbey Road at a Hindu retreat? Yes it is.

      I guess they would be for The Chop in your Great Society where no dissension or deviation from the State sanctioned secularist belief system is allowed.

      Thinking of the children... Whose children are they? Logic and the natural order of things suggests that they are the parents' responsibility, being genetically formed from them. Perhaps you'd like the State to take them away and send them to a camp to be re-educated? I hear that Nicolae Ceaușescu did that a lot in Romania in his time. What a nice atheist man he was, moving all the children around and creating large numbers of orphanages where they could run free, free from the religious shackles of their parents. Then there were other places in Eastern Europe where the little corner of the house devoted in the past to religious icons were abolished and converted to be a "red corner" in honour of new atheistic state leaders. No religion to see here folks, honest, move along. As Lennon suggested in the link you provided, these great leaders did away with possessions and religion and brought in a brotherhood of man, by force of law.

      Seeing as you think the law shouldn't be broken just because you don't believe its morally right, I'm sure you'd have been a staunch supporter of all these regimes, along with the Khmer Rouge, Mao and Enver Hoxha. These would be your heros, pushing back the bounds of religion, bringing secularism to the people. Don't take my word for it. Google it yourself. The House of Saud might also agree with you there and suggest that your points (a) and (b) are in essence what is going on with this flogging. (c) is also a bit of a nonsense, since children don't grow up in a vacuum. Whether you consider what they learn a "delusion" or not is depends your point of view. I'm sure the Saudis take exactly the same view of things.

      Do you sound intolerant? Yes, yes you do. With regard to your strawman, I'm not sure if I can think of any "traditional" religions which reject people based on where they are from, what someone looks like or even what their parents thought. I say "traditional" religions because... well, let's take a look at the morality proposed by "God is Dead" Nietzsche and those strongly influenced by him (who cannot be named on an internet forum but are still relevant to the discussion because of their zeal to eradicate religion). Sadly deformed at birth? Oh dear, it doesn't look good for you. Are you a Gypsy, black-skinned or Slavic - not "from the right place"? Eugenics is definitely in. Did even just one of your grandparents believe in the Torah? There's a train ride and an unpleasant shower waiting for you. It's a tragedy that Lennon was murdered by a criminal nut-job, but zealous atheist leaders seem to do things on a much grander scale. Stalin's atheistic religion led him to kill around seven million kulaks in an engineered famine. People weren't directly hurt (that wouldn't be ciivilised and there aren't bullets to spare) they were merely stripped of all possessions (including pots and pans) and everyone else was forbidden to give them aid.

      The BBC's article (http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-30714702) is interesting, but Tom Holland appears to end with simply two different viewpoints struggling for political supremacy. When two viewpoints struggle and the end result of either is the obliteration of all others, I don't see how they are that different from each other. I prefer permissiveness to restriction, but that is not the way things are going. The government is legislating more and more morality as special interest groups push their social-engineering agendas. They seem desperate to have their behaviour preferences pronounced "good" and all who disagree must be silenced. All disagreement is labelled "bigotry" or "hate-speech". Why not go all the way and label it "blasphemy?"

      We don't flog those with religious beliefs different from our own, but if they dare to mention those beliefs they can lose their job, have their cafe or B&B shut down by the police and courts, be rejected as foster-parents, be dismissed from working for the local council's ethics committee, and the list goes on, but no flogging, because we are civilised and we live in the "free" West. Perish the thought that someone with religious beliefs should work on an ethics committee. We don't need any of your steeekin' ethics thank-you, we only want our own.

      How far from Saudi Arabia are we?

      1. phil dude
        Coat

        Re: think of the children....

        Yes, John Lennon play in a band, apparently.

        That however, was not my point.

        He was executed by a deranged person claiming, who knows what.

        JL was also blacklisted by the FBI, where even 40 years later the file is still redacted, for who knows what....

        Religion is human dogma, by definition - it is not something that comes in the water. There *may* be evolutionary traits that make "belief in woo" a desirable characteristic (Richard Dawkins get's a lot of stick for suggesting it). The fear of the unknown is probably safer than the lack of fear...

        However as I have stated, I don't care WHAT you or anyone else believes in. It is self evident that adults should be responsible for their actions, that is the heart of our law. Just stop on red, ok?

        Secular does not mean we don't have the diversity of ethnic, linguistic, artistic or anyone of an infinity of human imagination or expression.

        The absence of religion simply means dealing with the world as we find it, not some cartoon version which cannot be challenged without fear of sanction.

        P.

  10. x 7

    fascist twats

  11. Khaptain Silver badge

    Je suis Charlie...

    Here in the occident we used to burn people for heresy up until the end of the 17th century. That wasn't really that long ago. 12 people were killed yesterday for the same reason ( or at least that's the excuse, just as it was not so long ago).

    Mankind doesn't really grow up does it ?

    Why don't the religious leaders put an end to these silly beliefs...the religious books were written by man, in that case man can change them. Instead they choose to dwell in the past where fear and ignorance reign.

    Charlie represents the opposite of that fear and ignorance, I would like to believe that mankind was capable of continuing down that path.....

    1. returnmyjedi

      Re: Je suis Charlie...

      The turn of the 17th century was for hundred years ago. Not long if you use the life of the universe as your measurement, but still quite a lot of yonks ago.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Je suis Charlie...

        "[...] but still quite a lot of yonks ago."

        People are still being killed in Western countries by those claiming a religious dogma overrides women's rights to control their own bodies.

        The Oldham offer to a football player has been withdrawn after pressure that illustrates the vindictive mob mentality that is becoming prevalent again. Club officials' families received death threats if they gave him the second chance that is supposed to be part of the English justice system.

        All of which suggests that the veneer of civilised behaviour even in developed nations is still very thin. Each child is moulded by their immediate community and accepts that as the natural way to live. As they grow up it becomes their tribal identity - and losing it can be a real and mental threat. A society generally can only control its people, even with force, if a significant number are its apparent supporters.

        1. Bloodbeastterror

          Re: Je suis Charlie...

          Re your Oldham comment. It is indeed hard for this footballer that he will no longer be allowed (it seems) to pursue his career. However, one commentator said, and I agree, that this man is a public figure who can influence children by example (as your own comment says: "moulded..."), and this is therefore analogous to a teacher convicted of child abuse offences being denied the continuation of a teaching career. A child abuser does not get a second chance. Crimes have consequences.

          1. Dr. Mouse

            Re: Je suis Charlie...

            that this man is a public figure who can influence

            Many people in public positions can loose their jobs, and even careers, for something completely unrelated to their job.

            Even had he been found not guilty, there would still be a chance the club would ask him to resign or pay him out to get rid of him. A company/club etc. has to look at their image. Anything which would bring the entity into disrepute has to be viewed seriously. A CEO of a large multinational can loose his job over the most trivial of things if they reflect badly on the company. In the end, our actions can reflect (for good or bad) on our employer, and the employer must take into account those reflections.

            While I agree that, under the law, once a sentence is served that should be the end of it, this does not extend into the public conciousness. If you know your next door neighbour was convicted of rape/murder/child abuse, the fact he has paid for his crime will not be much reassurance.

            1. DropBear

              Re: Je suis Charlie...

              If you know your next door neighbour was convicted...

              Apples to Oranges. The law is only concerned with your neighbour's past actions, you are mostly concerned about his future ones...

              1. Dr. Mouse

                Re: Je suis Charlie...

                I agree, this is exactly what I was trying to point out.

                The law should be fair and just, whereas human beings (and by extension groups of human beings, including companies) have to weigh up risks in a completely different manner. They can be emotional and irrational.

                Taking this theoretical next door neighbour, let's say he committed murder. He completed his sentence many years ago, but is still a large, strong guy. People will be afraid of him. He has killed in the past, so what would stop him doing it again? It doesn't matter that he has not done so since he was released, or that he has dedicated his life to good works since (volunteer work etc.), or even the circumstances surrounding his crime, he will forever be tainted by that.

                Now let us say he works hard and gets a good job, but his criminal history is leaked, and this starts affecting the companies business. Clients and/or customers start boycotting the firm. A good employer may try to defend him at first, but if things continue they will be forced to let him go. His career is wrecked by a mistake in his distant past, one which he has paid for under the law, but he will never be able to escape from.

            2. DanceMan

              Re: Je suis Charlie...

              FFS, the spelling is "lose." Loose means something entirely different.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Je suis Charlie...

            Not all crimes have consequences. You can kill someone with a car with virtual impunity. The Man City youth team player Courtney Meppen-Walter killed the father of 2 children aged 1 and 2. He also killed this gentleman's sister, leaving 2 boys of 16 and 17 orphans, as their father had been killed in Afghanistan, from which they had fled for safety, from the Taliban, to England. Meppen-Walter had already been convicted of driving too fast in a 30mph area. He did so again with lethal consequences.

            He spent only 8 months in jail which he compared to absence because of an injury. He is now playing for Carlisle United.

    2. Swiss Anton

      Re: Je suis Charlie...

      The problem here is religion. What gets me most is that according to the Bible (Genesis 1:27) "God created mankind in his own image". Then I look in the mirror ... how can anyone take this stuff seriously. #JeSuisCharlie

      1. ian 22

        Re: Je suis Charlie...

        @Swiss Anton: laugh if you like. *I* have the body of a Greek god- the fat one.

      2. <a|a>=1

        Re: Je suis Charlie...

        man created god in his image

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    UK Government objections

    A most deafening silence, I'd imagine; the usual staunch defence of human rights tempered with a liberal (not that kind!) dose of "what's in it for me?".

    1. Mark 65

      Re: UK Government objections

      Can't go upsetting those military contracts.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: UK Government objections

        Can't go upsetting those military contracts.

        Neah... Old Boy's network.

        A "elite private school graduate" does not poke another graduate in the eye, ya know.

        School well known too.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: UK Government objections

      "the usual staunch defence of human rights tempered with a liberal (not that kind!) dose"

      Oh, I don't know, it seems exactly -that- kind. Some noise but no actual activity.

      Je suis Charlie

  13. Toastan Buttar
    Devil

    Blasphemy...

    The only truly victimless crime.

  14. Mephistro
    Flame

    In a few decades...

    ... when their oil finally runs out or gets replaced by better and cheaper energy sources, these countries will revert to their natural status, i.e. poor, ignorant, fanatic feudal kingdoms where the preferred methods for succession are knifes and poisons. It won't be pretty neither for the ruling classes nor for the plebs. And the only thing that can save them from that grim future is a revolution where beliefs in sky fairies get finally thrown overboard and human beings are allowed to believe (or disbelieve) in whatever they please.

    This process took 'Christian'* nations almost two millennia. I hope 'Muslim' nations use our former experience to speed up said process a lot, or the rest of the world will end up fixing the problem in some really unpleasant way, probably by completely isolating them and letting them drown in their own bloodbath.

    And "Je suis Charlie".

    *Note: I wrote the words 'Christian' and 'Muslim' between quotes because for the ruling classes religion is only a useful tool, and said ruling classes usually pay only lip service to the tenets of said religions.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: In a few decades...

      Have an upvote. You took the words right out of my mouth. The Sauds have playing both sides in this for decades. They claim to be "friends" while funding various super-fundamentalist schools, etc. I really hope the West and even the East wake up before it goes much further.

      There really has to be a time when everyone says, "we've had enough. stop!" and back it up.

    2. dan1980

      Re: In a few decades...

      @Mephistro

      ". . . when their oil finally runs out or gets replaced by better and cheaper energy sources, these countries will revert to their natural status . . ."

      Maybe.

      But then it's not like the Sheiks haven't been spending their money on business ventures and the likes. Take the bin Laden family, who operate the largest construction company in the world (unless i am mistaken).

      That said, it's hard not to enjoy this quote form the Ides of March, delivered by George Clooney's character:

      "You know how you fight the war on terror? Don't need their product anymore. Their product is oil - just don't need it and they go away. We don't have to bomb anyone, we don't have to invade anyone!"

    3. HKmk23

      Re: In a few decades...

      What an excellent piece.....may I suggest that everyone copies and forwards this to everyone they know....and spread some common sense to an ever seemingly mad world.

      Je Suis Charlie.......

    4. DropBear
      Devil

      Re: In a few decades...

      This process took 'Christian'* nations almost two millennia

      For some strange reason you seem to have mistakenly used the past tense there. You know, "In God we trust" and all that jazz...

    5. h4rm0ny

      Re: In a few decades...

      >>"... when their oil finally runs out or gets replaced by better and cheaper energy sources, these countries will revert to their natural status"

      Much of the London property market has been bought up by Middle Eastern rich people. The London Stock Exchange is also part owned (to a pretty significant degree) by Qatar and the NYSE was similarly bought out by a Dubai, iirc. We have been selling the family silver to these countries for several years, now. If and when the oil runs out or is replaced by nuclear power, they just need to charge us more rent to live in our own capital and they'll be fine.

  15. BanjoPaterson

    50 Lashes per Week Over 20 Weeks?!

    Surely that would kill a person? I can't imagine that a week's enough time for the skin on the back to heal from 50 lashes -- and with each week the new whipping will open old wounds.

    Not that I'm proud of the fact, but I did get a few of the cane on the backside once in high school (during the 70s, when corporal punishment was allowed and seen as part of a good, solid education). It was a bendy cane, although not 7 foot, but an old fashioned one about the width of a person's finger. Luckily, I got caned with my trousers on and from the memory two things stand out.

    1. Even 2 lashes of a thin cane wielded by an old school master hurts like anything; and

    2. The welts took a while to heal

    I remember coming back to the boarding house and being asked how many I got, and after I replied "Two" being told "You're a teacher's pet, aren't you? I got six last week."

    A real "Life of Brian" moment.

    1. CanadianMacFan

      Re: 50 Lashes per Week Over 20 Weeks?!

      Probably less fatal than all 1000 at once. Unfortunately I have the feeling that the person giving out the lashes has lots of practice in such things and will be able to inflict the most damage without it being fatal.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 50 Lashes per Week Over 20 Weeks?!

      You think that bothers them?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "It was a bendy cane, although not 7 foot, but an old fashioned one about the width of a person's finger. "

    IIRC the person with the cane has to have copy of the Koran tucked under the same arm - thus limiting the power that can be exerted.

    An exercise in Physics: is such a long thin cane going to absorb some of the blow by bending? The person's back itself is too hard to offer much protection.

    British school teachers used a short cane delivered with the power of a full sweep of the arm - up to at least 1970. The infamous "birching" was a British court penalty up to about the same time.

    1. dan1980

      @AC

      "An exercise in Physics: is such a long thin cane going to absorb some of the blow by bending? The person's back itself is too hard to offer much protection."

      I suspect it wouldn't help that much as the longer the cane, the faster the end of it will be travelling.

  17. cantankerous swineherd Silver badge

    Saudi Arabia == terrorists.

    1. WatAWorld

      Why are our sons fighting to defend a country that evangelizes terrorism?

      Saudi Arabia -- birth place of Wahhabi and Salfism -- the Islamic sect of terrorists.

      Wahhabi is Saudi Arabia's official version of Islam.

      And yet we're at war with countries like Iran and Iraq -- countries that have been attacked and defend against Wahhabis and Salfists.

      Why are we defending a country that sends people out to preach that attacking the west is the easy way to get into heaven?

      Why are our sons fighting to defend a country that evangelizes terrorism?

      1. SundogUK

        Re: Why are our sons fighting to defend a country that evangelizes terrorism?

        Oil.

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: Why are our sons fighting to defend a country that evangelizes terrorism?

          And that Oil represents large amounts of power and wealth for a very select few, I beleive that some of them are actually in or were in the goverment..

          cough cough GW Bush cough cough

  18. Digital

    Stupid Human Tricks

    It boggles my mind that most humans still have yet to figure out that religion is completely made up bullshit, and that they are incredibly willing to hurt, maim and kill each other for insulting each other make believe gods... Stupid, Stupid, Stupid Humans!!!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Stupid Human Tricks

      Wisdom of the plumber. I was once told (by a plumber) that he considered the source of many religions to be just a wise person trying to pass on knowledge to future generations. Don't eat pork in a hot area is quite good advice, don't go touching dogs then use your hand for food, etc.

      These seeds of wisdom they are later handled by those who would seek power by controlling the knowledge, or be filtered to the lowest level of understandable content when dealing with the body of humanity.

      If you could get an original unaltered text from the main man/woman and read it in the context of it's time I bet many religions could be seen as sensible advice that should lead to a more harmonious life, what happens once the text in the hands of those with other agendas is something else. Considering the number of habitable planets and scope of the universe I think it entirely possible we have been visited by "non local" wise beings but even then, what is taught is subject to translation and interpretation.

      Our current internet age is a new challenge again, it offers a wider platform for dissemination of wisdom but also allows clear thought to be trampled by the shouts of many, oh and the governments are coming, to modify the words, to filter out "hate speech" only you understand, the control is just to protect you.

      1. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: Stupid Human Tricks

        "Don't eat pork in a hot area is quite good advice"

        Any particular reason it's worse in hot area's than chicken, beef, mutton, goat ??? Skanky rotten meat of any sort won;t do you any good.

        Islam/Judaism - Words of wisdom - use age old methods to preserve it and cure the pork, and get some yummy bacon.

        ISIS - Need to get a blowjob, a bacon sandwich and a nice bottle of some decent real ale - for some perspective,.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Stupid Human Tricks

          >Any particular reason it's worse in hot area's than chicken, beef, mutton, goat ??? Skanky rotten meat of any sort won;t do you any good.

          Because if these countries are anything like rural India, pigs consume an awful lot of human waste. - Loos in rural India (well, Goa, where I lived) are built to allow the pigs access to the deposits.

          1. IDoNotThinkSo
            Alert

            Re: Stupid Human Tricks

            The problem with pork is a parasite, Taenia solium:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taenia_solium

            Best avoided if you can't cook it properly and/or the farming environment isn't controlled.

            This is the main reason for several religions banning it. Probably sensible at the time...

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Stupid Human Tricks

      It boggles my mind that most humans still have yet to figure out that religion is completely made up bullshit

      Part of it I think is that everyone wants to understand the universe they were born into - they need to understand the world so that they can function in it. Science explains the universe in great detail which can be very difficult to understand and as new discoveries are made it keeps changing its explanation. Religion has the fall back phrase 'Because God made it that way' to avoid complications and because it's mostly the product of imagination it doesn't have to change unless someone wants it to (and look how much trouble it causes when it does schism).

      This all means that it's easier to rely on religion to explain your place in the universe so a lot of people do. Relying on science means accepting that we know very little about anything that happens outside of our own minds and for most people that's unsettling.

      Up to this point it all just looks like a psychological crutch and if that's what people need to get through their life then fair enough. The problem is that some people have worked out that if you are responsible for explaining another person's view of 'the universe and their place in it' then you have very effective control over that person. It's all downhill from there.

      1. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: Stupid Human Tricks

        "This all means that it's easier to rely on religion to explain your place in the universe so a lot of people do. Relying on science means accepting that we know very little about anything that happens outside of our own minds and for most people that's unsettling."

        .... science/education has moved on loads since when organised religions span up, as the non-ruling classes were ignorant, down-trodden, without any rights and illiterate subsistence farming serf's - who would believe any half-arsed bullshit. Send a child today to a faith school, and they'll come back believing in God, as it is indoctrinated into them.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Religion of Peace?

    Unfortunately too many people are drawing parallels between Islam and Christianity. People see the crazy things done by Christians in the past and think that Muslims must be “misinterpreting” the Quran the same way Christians have done with the bible. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

    The bible is a collection of stories written by many people over hundreds, or thousands, of years. Most of these stories are intended to be learning experiences and can be interpreted in different ways. Good people will interpret them in good ways, bad people will interpret them in bad ways. Most people from a Christian background think that the Quran is similar, but it is not.

    The Quran was written by one man, in his life time, and is direct instructions on how life and society should be organised. Sharia Law is from the Quran and it is every Muslim’s job to ensure only the political and sociological view points from the Quran are used in everyday life. Killing or lying to non-believers is perfectly permitted under Sharia Law. Whatever you want, so long as it is in defence of Islam.

    When a Muslim tells you Islam is a religion of peace, it’s a blatant lie to further their goals. It's time we stop defending Islam as a legitimate religion, and start treating it like a cult.

    Remember that the actions of the gunmen in Paris are perfectly legal in any country with Sharia Law.

    1. phil dude
      FAIL

      Re: Religion of Peace?

      Any dogma that instructs you to believe in something without proof (or thought) is by definition dangerous. It doesn't matter if it is the ice bucket challenge, or the birdie song, humans that do not take responsibility for their actions are what the laws have evolved to serve society (largely....).

      These people are painfully deluded to the point of being criminally dangerous and now murderous.

      All religious followers that attempt to enforce their beliefs on any other human being. Doesn't matter which religion, or which human. we are all born as humans first, everything else is secondary.

      Dogma is not spontaneous in this world. It needs to be propagated via enforced propaganda. The UK has "faith" schools, and Saudia Arabia has the "Madrasa". It is a matter of degree how culpable they each are for the mis-education of children into the warped minds of the adults we have seen this week.

      P.

      1. dan1980

        Re: Religion of Peace?

        @phil dude

        Eh? What's this "and now murderous" part?

        1. phil dude
          Pint

          Re: Religion of Peace?

          I was referring to the current event, not the global state....

          I should have been more specific, but it sounded more rhythmic....

          P.

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge

      Re: Religion of Peace?

      I'll a few more bits.....

      There is no over riding authority in Islam. Every mullah, etc. teaches what they think is right. Some are heavy into personal gain (the whole of Saudi and Kuwait come to mind) or it's pure religious zeal. They can issue fatwahs and jihad at the local level with the drop of a hat and there are no checks except in the countries that have one religious leader (Iran comes to mind) who (has the army to back him up) can override any local edict.

      There's two major sects and they are basically violently opposed to each other and regard each other as heretics. There's literally 100's of off-shoots down each of those food chains. Christianity is rather Mickey Mouse and small stuff in comparison to the way they not only treat infidels but members of the other sects even though they follow the same book.

      That current crowd running amok in Syria and Iraq is spreading. The term radicalized has been coined to justify this by the non-Islamics and paints it as mild. On top if this, the Sauds are directly responsible for them (ISIS) as well as Al-Quida (or whatever the spelling is this week).

      If someone really believes that Islam is the religion of peace, they really need to look not just at the history but at their holy book on what is required and tolerated. It's an eye-opener to those of us in the West.

      1. WatAWorld

        Re: Religion of Peace? Protestants and Catholics

        "There's two major sects and they are basically violently opposed to each other and regard each other as heretics."

        How can any one say that makes Islam different from Christianity?

        Individual preachers who can make their own interpretations? Islam and protestantism.

        Go back a couple of hundred years and you'll see Islam is Mickey Mouse compared to Christianity.

        And Christianity could return to evil at any time in the future, and probably will, because the bad stuff in Islam is all in Christianity, it is all teachings of Abraham, all still in the Christian Bible, and none of it has been declared apocryphal by any Christian preacher.

        1. Roj Blake

          Re: Religion of Peace? Protestants and Catholics

          "And Christianity could return to evil at any time in the future, and probably will, because the bad stuff in Islam is all in Christianity, it is all teachings of Abraham, all still in the Christian Bible, and none of it has been declared apocryphal by any Christian preacher."

          The Old Testament stuff is mainly there because it contains predictions for the coming of the Messiah. If you read the New Testament, you'll see that Jesus was no fan of rigidly following the laws in Exodus and Leviticus etc - he pretty much replaced them all with a commandment to be excellent to one another.

    3. WatAWorld

      Re: Religion of Peace?

      Go read your Christian bible.

      All the bad parts of Islam are in there -- just most Christians currently ignore them for the moment.

      No rights for women. Slavery. Genocide.

      It is all in the Christian bible, mostly in the Old Testament -- a set of books that has never been expunged from the Christian bible in case it's later needed.

    4. Bloodbeastterror

      Re: Religion of Peace?

      I have to correct one point:

      "The bible is a collection of stories written by many people over hundreds, or thousands, of years."

      No, as any frothing-at-the-mouth redneck Christian fundamentalist will tell you, the bible is literally the word of God. You're proposing the secular sensible view (with which I agree), but that's not how it works when your mind is poisioned by religion.

      As Christoper Hitchens (whom I recommend) said, religion is a force which makes good people do bad things.

      1. Peter Simpson 1
        Facepalm

        Re: Religion of Peace?

        No, as any frothing-at-the-mouth redneck Christian fundamentalist will tell you, the bible is literally the word of God.

        Ah, yes. Surprising, though, the number of fundamentalists who daily violate the Lord's explicit instructions and allow witches, sodomites, harlots and unbelievers to go about their daily business. Not to mention their lack of the required burnt animal sacrifices to the Lord (barbecue pulled pork, I believe, doesn't qualify)

        I'm slowly coming to the conclusion that fundamentalist religion...*any* fundamentalist religion, is a Bad Thing.

        Nous sommes tous Charlie.

    5. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

      Re: Religion of Peace?

      When a Muslim tells you Islam is a religion of peace, it’s a blatant lie

      Actually, no, though it is easy to perceive it as a lie, because we are biased by a certain notion of "peace". Consider a different definition of "peace". To a Muslim[*] peace will be established when the whole world becomes Dar-al-Islam (the Domain of Islam), and Dar-al-Harb (the Domain of War, i.e., all the countries that are not ruled by Islamic law - the term should be self-explanatory) ceases to exist. Thus, a terrorist that lashes an atheist for a FB post, or kills a few journalists, or blows up a bus or a restaurant full of Christians or Jews (believers or not) brings the world closer to peace, according to his definition of what "peace" is. Too bad if it is different from what you or I think. It is not "extremism", either, but rather a central tenet of Islam[**], called "jihad". It is the normal path to expansion of the religion's influence (NB: predates the Crusades, let alone Luther and Calvin - accused in this forum of inventing religious wars - by a few hundred years, too).

      [*] Well, only if he takes some of the central teachings of his religion really seriously.

      [**] Let's not forget that most people don't really choose religion, they are born into a certain environment/tradition/ethnicity, etc. Luckily, in our society we can both point out facts and express opinions, even unfavourable, of religions, ours as well as those of others, but we should never forget that adhering to a faith does not make a person bad or unworthy just because you find certain elements of that faith objectionable. Everybody takes from religion the bits that suit him (sometimes nothing) and ignores (and conveniently forgets) the bits that don't, and it is that, rather than formal self-identification, that should matter when you look at a person (and it is not all that matters).

      1. NeilPost Silver badge

        Re: Religion of Peace?

        "Actually, no, though it is easy to perceive it as a lie, because we are biased by a certain notion of "peace". Consider a different definition of "peace". To a Muslim[*] peace will be established when the whole world becomes Dar-al-Islam (the Domain of Islam), and Dar-al-Harb (the Domain of War, i.e., all the countries that are not ruled by Islamic law - the term should be self-explanatory) ceases to exist. Thus, a terrorist that lashes an atheist for a FB post, or kills a few journalists, or blows up a bus or a restaurant full of Christians or Jews (believers or not) brings the world closer to peace, according to his definition of what "peace" is. Too bad if it is different from what you or I think. It is not "extremism", either, but rather a central tenet of Islam[**], called "jihad". It is the normal path to expansion of the religion's influence (NB: predates the Crusades, let alone Luther and Calvin - accused in this forum of inventing religious wars - by a few hundred years, too)."

        Sounds like Ethnic cleansing to me.

        1. islamkingdom

          Re: Religion of Peace?

          of course Islam is a religion of peace and calls for peace. if you want to know more about Islam go to Islamkingdom.

          1. x 7

            Re: Religion of Peace?

            "of course Islam is a religion of peace and calls for peace."

            utter bollox

            or are you being sarcastic?

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Religion of Peace?

      "It's time we stop defending Islam as a legitimate religion, and start treating it like a cult."

      Ditto the Catholics. Classic cult - the head claims to be god's representative on earth, etc. etc.....

      nb - The Americans are so obtuse that they class Scientology as a religion!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Religion of Peace?

        " The Americans are so obtuse that they class Scientology as a religion!"

        A recent court ruling in England allowed them the privilege of organising marriages in one of their buildings - something that is still denied to humanist organisations. It is expected that they will now attempt to use that ruling as a springboard to gain tax exemption privileges as a religion too.

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Religion of Peace?

      Remember that the actions of the gunmen in Paris are perfectly legal in any country with Sharia Law.

      Actually - no. Even there you have to have a fatwa and/or a religious court decision if you follow the book by the book.

      Shariah does not allow you to go and shoot someone just because they do not believe or are blasphemous. However, it establishes an exact order in how you get an entitlement to shoot 'em. It is _NOT_ unique in that respect. Nearly any holy book contains similar verses and nearly any religion has had people killing "blasphemers" in the past. Christians, Sikhs, even buddhists - you name 'em - all have killed "blasphemers" for centuries.

  20. ecofeco Silver badge

    Irony

    They haz it.

  21. Selden

    Don't bet on it

    Sentences passed are not always executed. I lived in Saudi Arabia for 5 years, and knew someone who was sentenced to 50 lashes for public drunkenness. The lashes were applied to his personnel record, not to his back.

    1. WatAWorld

      Re: Don't bet on it

      Okay then, sort of like Texas and 99 year sentences.

      The actual prison rules of Texas state any sentence longer than 30 years is interpreted as a 30 year sentence. It then goes on to explain how one day can earn two or even three days towards a sentence based on prisoner behaviour.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't bet on it

      i also know someone whose claim to fame was being stopped for drink-driving. In Riyadh.

      Shame he wasn't a girl.

      There was also the Northern Irish guy questioned over links to terrorists - by the Saudis?!!!

  22. Winkypop Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Stop making our religion look bad!

    [whack!]

    Stop making our religion look bad!

    [whack!]

    Stop making our religion look bad!

    [whack!]

    Stop making our religion look bad!

    [whack!]

    Stop making our religion look bad!

    [whack!]

    Stop making our religion look bad!

    ....

    1. dan1980

      Re: Stop making our religion look bad!

      Disrespecting Islam?

      That's a paddlin'

      Supporting women?

      That's a paddlin'

      Not believing in Allah?

      Oh, you better believe that's a paddlin'

      (Not to make light of the barbaric, closed-minded, authoritarian regime - it just popped into my head.)

      1. Bloodbeastterror

        Re: Stop making our religion look bad!

        A small correction. Apostasy is forbidden in Islam. So...

        Not believing in Allah?

        Death.

    2. billse10

      Re: Stop making our religion look bad!

      (needs the appropriate accent)

      God

      [whack]

      is

      [whack]

      love!

      [whack]

      (might be wrong, but was that Dave Allen?)

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Islam

    Killing critics of Muhammad is not "against Islam," as some will say (to those who desperately want to hear it). Killing critics of Muhammad is what Islam requires because it is exactly what Muhammad practiced. This is Islamic law. This is what Sharia looks like.

  24. Mike Manes

    How ironic that the deified prophet Muhommed is so thin-skinned and fragile that he must rely on these barbaric thugs and atrocities to defend him. Certainly not what I'd seek out in a diety, should I find myself in search of one.

    1. AndrueC Silver badge
      Happy

      How ironic that the deified prophet Muhommed is so thin-skinned and fragile that he must rely on these barbaric thugs and atrocities to defend him.

      Most of these deities seem pretty weak right from the off. The Christian God (who might well be the same as the Muslim God) apparently gets so lonely that he requires you to talk to him every day. Several times a day if possible. Mind you on the other hand He must be very tolerant because if I had to listen to the moans, whines and pleadings of several billion human beings I'd get out my smiting stick.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        As a Pastafarian

        My deity doesn't give a toss* what you say or think about him and if you grow up and throw out the farie stories, he might let you chew on his meaty balls.

        * preferably in a tomato sauce with plenty of butter.

  25. Andy Christ

    eh, nuke Mecca.

    1. dan1980

      Only way to be sure?

    2. stucs201

      Unfortunately ISIS would probably quite like that, since they don't seem to like shrines of any type.

    3. Don Dumb
      Coffee/keyboard

      @Andy Christ - "eh, nuke Mecca."

      It's not the mothership*

      * (C) Dara O'Briain

    4. DropBear

      "eh, nuke Mecca."

      Is that you, Theophilus Farnsworth...?

  26. John Savard Silver badge

    Barbaric

    This makes an amusing counterpart to a news story I read just the other day in Canada.

    A Carleton University professor criticized Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for referring to the Charlie Hebdo attacks as "barbaric", because that word might tend to reinforce negative stereotypes of Islam, and to stigmatize other cultures.

    This shows that there is apparently something wrong with the culture in that part of the world, unless the flogging is entirely the government's idea without popular support.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Trollface

    And religeous fanatics of all forms wonder...

    ...why the rest of us sensible people think that a SECULAR government is the best way forward.

    Don't get me wrong. I actually DO believe in God. But I also happen to think that having some bunch of God botherers (who think that they have a divine knowledge of how God thinks things should be done) running things is a fucking bad idea from the get-go. It's akin to giving a three year old a box of matches in a munitions factory. You KNOW something bad and extremely messy is going to happen at some point along the way.

    1. dan1980

      Re: And religeous fanatics of all forms wonder...

      @RogerStenning

      I've got no problem with "God botherers" - it's the ones who bother me that I get annoyed with!

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And religeous fanatics of all forms wonder...

      "I actually DO believe in God"

      Your credibility just hit zero and I stopped reading there.

      1. h4rm0ny

        Re: And religeous fanatics of all forms wonder...

        >>"Your credibility just hit zero and I stopped reading there."

        I'm actually surprised you made it past "Secular".

      2. dan1980

        Re: And religeous fanatics of all forms wonder...

        @AC

        "Your credibility just hit zero and I stopped reading there."

        Dude, naw.

        Look . . . I firmly believe that there is a fundamental distinction between a world view that admits only of the material and one that includes - to be rather blunt - magic.

        There is pretty much only a single conception of 'God' that can exist without any conflict with the material view, and that is God as the creator of the universe. By that I mean a god that sets off the big bang* and then forever removes itself from that creation.

        As soon as you believe that a God interferes with the material world, you are (whether you know it or not) believing in a magical manipulation of the laws of physics. If you believe that God. If you believe that God 'speaks' to you then that is still a violation of the laws of physics because it implies that this entity has caused neurons to fire in your brain without any material input.

        It's a material effect without a material cause.

        BUT, there is no compelling reason why people who believe that cannot be part of a happy, free, open, peaceful and productive society. And, given we each have about 70-80 years to experience existence, that's all I really give a damn about.

        You can be a firm, genuine believer in equality and freedom and human rights and yet hold personal beliefs that a non-physical entity magically grants you favours from time to time. (Apparently the Christian God is particularly partial to assisting people in feats of sporting prowess and acting/musical ability, if acceptance speeches and post-match interviews are anything to go by.)

        What DOESN'T gel is believing that YOUR god has a way and a truth that is the ultimate good for all people and they should therefore be convinced, pressured or forced to fall in line.

        Some might claim that any genuine religious believer who does not proselytise is being inconsistent or hypocritical but that is the believer's issue and not mine. If a believer is perfectly happy to keep it to themselves and believes that it is more important to be happy and free than to believe in their god then that person is utterly fine by me - we can be best friends.

        That person can even be a distinguished and exceptionally valued and productive scientist who brings great advances to humanity.

        You, my cowardly friend, might hold that any belief in any god or extra-physical reality is fundamentally irrational and thus anyone with such a belief is themselves irrational.

        Well, I agree with that. BUT . . . If you can show me a human being that does not act irrationally then you let us know. No one expects perfectly consistent, perfectly rational thinking and acting from people because it's just not in our nature. So, if being irrational some times and about some things disqualifies a person from having valid opinions about the world and about life and about people and about society - and even about science - then we are all doomed utterly.

        So, if you are a decent, open, fair, compassionate person who believes that all people have the right to their freedom and to hold their own counsel and live unmolested in the pursuit of their own happiness then step up - we need as many of you as possible and I don't give a damn what religious beliefs you hold any more than I care about your gender or colour or nationality.

        BUT, if you are a close-minded twat who believes it's their way or nothing; who believes that those who hold different views are inherently not welcome and not fit to contribute - regardless of an other quality they may have - or help make decisions about how we make this world a good and happy place, well, you can fuck right off - we've got plenty of your type already.

        * - That's as it stands at the moment. If we explain the big bang, there may still be room for a 'something' outside of that but we don't need to cross that bridge quite yet.

  28. Sokolik
    Unhappy

    aaaaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhhh

    aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrggggggghhhhhh

    many if not most of the 9/11 perps were Saudi subjects

    these people are our "allies"

    aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhh

    1. dan1980

      Re: aaaaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhhh

      @Sokolik

      While accepting that money from the Saudi Government does end up with terrorist factions, saying that the 9/11 'perps' were Saudi subjects is not necessarily the full picture. Yes, Bin Laden and some of those who committed the attacks were Saudis. BUT, they were Saudis who were unhappy with the Saudi government. Bin Laden went to Afghanistan because he was annoyed at the Saudi government accepting/asking for help from the US, whom he despised.

      Don't get me wrong - Saudi Arabia is a horrendously cloistered and repressed country with authoritarian laws, but I am not sure we can say they were responsible for the attack on September 11.

      1. Sokolik

        Re: aaaaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhhh

        dan1980, thank you. Point well taken.

        1. dan1980

          Re: aaaaaaarrrrrrrggggghhhhhh

          @Sokolik

          But you are, at least in your frustration, partially correct because the Saudis do contribute to terrorist activities because their money does go to institutions that serve as recruiting or training influences for terrorists or to religious groups that preach violent jihad as an Islamic religious duty.

          In other words, the Saudis, as a people, appear to have a tacit approval of terrorism.

          Again, that's how it appears.

          As someone else said, they do seem to be playing both sides to an extent. It's not quite allying with Stalin but the concept an unease if causes in many is not wholly dissimilar.

  29. Frumious Bandersnatch

    so much more civilised

    Come to ireland, where we have an anti-blasphemy law (IKYN).

    1. WatAWorld

      His bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others.

      Agreed.

      And people should not forget the USA's greatest recent Christian terrorist, Timothy McVeigh.

      His bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others.

      1. SundogUK

        Re: His bombing killed 168 people and injured more than 680 others.

        Timothy McVeigh was anti-federal government; he may have been a Christian but the attack had nothing to do with his religious beliefs, it was entirely political.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: so much more civilised

      saw a TV comedy on YouTube the other day - knowing my playlist it's prob QI - where a comic is talking about the Middle East and the establishment of a home state for the Jewish peoples. He suggested Northern Ireland, 'for years the safest place in the world to be a Jew'. [paraphrasing from memory]

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: so much more civilised

        "He suggested Northern Ireland, 'for years the safest place in the world to be a Jew'."

        IIRC another comedian told the story of a man in NI being asked his religion. He answered "Jewish". The next question was "But are you a Protestant Jew or a Catholic Jew".

  30. WatAWorld

    I'll let the Islamic fanatics in on a little secret we've been keeping from them ...

    I have spent so much time sticking up for Islamics, pointing out that Christianity and Buddhism also have terrorists.

    Pointing out that terrorism by Christians is actually not uncommon -- we just don't call it that.

    Think JFK, MLK and RK. Think IRA. Think ETA. And so on.

    And then these Islamic extremists come along and blow my entire defense of regular Islamic people completely out of the water.

    Now for the little secret we've been keeping from Islamic fanatics ...

    This emoticon :)

    That emoticon is actually a secret picture of The Prophet Mohammed.

    :)

    Je suis maintenant Charlie. Je suis Charlie !

    You have changed the world. I can no longer argue for tolerance.

    It makes me sick to my stomach to admit it, but sadly I must: It is now clear religious people no longer belong in advanced countries.

    I look at the USA now and Germany in the 1930s and Christianity.

    I look at Buddhism in Japan in the 1930s.

    I look at Hinduism in India now.

    It isn't just Islam, but Islam is currently the worst.

    I feel religion no longer has a place in western countries -- no religion.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll let the Islamic fanatics in on a little secret we've been keeping from them ...

      "I feel religion no longer has a place in western countries -- no religion."

      A person is entitled to their own belief or non-belief. It is the manipulation of the congregations by their hierarchy that leads to major problems. The Quakers may appear to be an organised religion - but very sensibly they eschew formal authority structures. For them it is a matter of individual conscience. They have been major players in promoting equality and fair treatment in England for several centuries - usually against strong opposition from the major Churches.

      1. Master Rod

        Re: I'll let the Islamic fanatics in on a little secret we've been keeping from them ...

        Yeah, and where are the Quakers nowadays?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'll let the Islamic fanatics in on a little secret we've been keeping from them ...

          "Yeah, and where are the Quakers nowadays?"

          Still quietly getting on with practical help to those they feel are not treated as equal human beings. On the political front they raised their voices in favour of same sex marriages - when the CofE and RCC both wanted ALL religions to be legally banned from holding such services. The Quakers argued from a thoughtful position on human social equality and happiness - the Churches were insisting on imposing their religious dogma on the rest of civil society.

          The essence of being a Quaker is to follow your conscience - usually quietly. They do not proselytise and grandstand.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: I'll let the Islamic fanatics in on a little secret we've been keeping from them ...

            > The essence of being a Quaker is to follow your conscience - usually quietly. They do not proselytise and grandstand.

            I am Jewish by birth and atheist by choice (not that that is anyone's business).

            With that said, I have been impressed by the honest, selfless, hard work that many people do, primarily either on account of, or as being in line with their faith.

            True, it is also possible to be nice to others whilst professing no religion (I have been told once, by a pious--and highly educated--Muslim, that I am a better Muslim than him, which I took as a great compliment). I do not claim that only religious people have a monopoly on being nice.

            However, I have witnessed great displays of humanity by enough believers (Muslims, Catholics, Quakers, Haredim, ... I count friends amongst all of those) to know better than climb on a high horse and preach my atheism to the world. I also know that many a believer would be sad to read and hear the sort of drivel many people happily spout in here and elsewhere, so I wonder if a bit of respect would be too much to ask.

    2. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: I'll let the Islamic fanatics in on a little secret we've been keeping from them ...

      This emoticon :) That emoticon is actually a secret picture of The Prophet Mohammed.

      Yes! That's why I always use :-)

      The "-" in it represents the noodly appendage.

    3. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'll let the Islamic fanatics in on a little secret we've been keeping from them ...

      > that terrorism by Christians [...]

      > Think ETA

      Err... Euskadi Ta Askatasuna (ETA) is explicitly non-confessional and espouses Marxist social ideals (and has done so since its beginnings as a split (or evolution, depending on who you listen to) from Ekin. There are Catholics in ETA, and some of Ekin's members were fervently so, but that is a personal ideological choice and not something that defines the group as such.

      You may be thinking perhaps of EAJ-PNV (Basque Nationalist Party, the major political force in the Basque Autonomous Community), but they never had an armed wing as such, at least not since the end of the Republic.

      I thought I should clear that up.

      The rest of your point is of course highly disingenuous as proven by the numerous other Marxist (and therefore, non-religious) armed groups past and present, such as the RAF (Rote Armee Fraktion / Red Army Faction), the FARC, Sendero Luminoso, Action Directe, the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), le Brigate Rosse (Red Brigades), the Nepalese Maoists, the Khmer Rouge, and the countless others I forget.

      There is another point which should not escape anyone old enough to recall the origins of so-called "Islamic" terrorism, which is that it raises following the defeat against all odds of the Arab countries in the war of Yom Kippur, in response to Arab citizens' loss of confidence in their up until then secular leaders, and is essentially of a populist, rather than religious, nature. It is impressive how quickly stereotypes can be formed and adopted, even by the stereotyped parties themselves.

      It is sad however that the media have, predictably, resorted to the easy, catchy slogans that have passed for political discourse since the end of WWII, instead of actually helping the public try to understand the world they live in.

  31. Suricou Raven

    Eventually we're going to see a serious backlash movement against Islam in the west - we're already seeing the beginnings in things like the recent protests in Germany. Right now it's limited to some far-right nutjobs, but every time an Islamic country does something repressive in the name of their religion, or some group of Islamic terrorists makes the news with another killing spree, the backlash grows a little larger and a little closer to mainstream.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "[...] the backlash grows a little larger and a little closer to mainstream."

      It has been argued that polarisation of a society is a major aim of these terrorists. They want the backlash so that otherwise innocent, moderate people are forced into their camp.

      Every time the government reduces our civil rights because of the threat of terrorism - then the terrorists have achieved their objective of moulding our society to their liking.

  32. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mohammed:

    My wife called me a paedophile this morning!!

    An awfully big word for a 9 year old...

  33. Fortycoats

    Futurama on Religion

    I think Futurama (episode on Robotology) summed up any religion pretty good using 2 lines of BASIC code:

    10 SIN

    20 GOTO HELL

    To quote Hitchens again: "Religion poisons everything"

    1. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

      Re: Futurama on Religion

      ?BASIC-F-Reference to non-existing location in line 20. Program aborted.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Somebody mentioned Life of Brian ..

    Je Suis Charlie.

    And so is my wife.

  35. colinvj

    Well if the oil price keeps going down these Saudi dictators will have no power anywhere, and wouldnt be of any use to the west , thats when the west will abandon them to their own demise

    1. Shrimpling

      Its because of the Saudi's the price is coming down, if the west start to piss them off they will just put the price back up again.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "if the west start to piss them off they will just put the price back up again."

        they will anyway, they are just waiting for a few of the competition to die off before that happens.

        I can see the price getting back up to maybe $80 once the slack has been taken out of the system. So China has slowed but China is not the only developing country and people still want this shit. Even renewables need oil to be built. There is a time when oil may superseded by other energy sources but this is not it. If I look at the 10year oil price trend there is an underlying trend of up with some big glitches like 2009 and today but the basic gears of development are still lubricated by oil and short of some truly world changing event it will go on until we think differently or can live differently.

  36. Yves14

    Atrocious, Disgraceful, Inhumane, this is 2015 not the dark ages, I pray for this chap who dwells within one of the most oppressive regimes in the world and is punished just for stating an opinion. I hope Amnesty will pursue this case and this punishment would turn on it's head and that the law over there would not be so self indfulgent. I would not wish to live there for all the tea in China !! My God is a forgiving God, that's all I know.

  37. arcticfox

    Timothy McVeigh.

    haha, I don't know how weird you people are who are desperatelt blame the bl oo dy Christians for this but Timothy McVeigh. wan't even a Christian. He never went to Church in his life! His big hassle was he was a complete prick. he had gambling debts he was just a mess. he was probably screwed up after his childhood in a broken home but the Gulf war (he was in the military as he was unable to get any other job) probably tightened the screw on his mental instability. No he was just a prick.

  38. TechicallyConfused

    However you spin it whipping someone is something best kept in the bedroom between consenting adults and not something to be sharing with a baying crowd outside a church. That is just f**ked up!

    Best remembered that that the Saudi ruling class is frankly just a couple of generations removed from nomads and camel worriers so their behavior is less than surprising.

    Anyway anticipating the flurry of down votes - I don't care. I am sick and tired of hearing one instance after another or religious zealotry causing misery and I don't just mean Islam because the Jews (Gaza) and Christians are not much (if any) better.

    Why can't people keep their relationship with God to themselves. It isn't something that needs to be a group effort, keep it personal people.

  39. FunkyEric

    The problem is that religion is ingrained in our society because our society is founded upon religion. However hard we try it is so deeply entwined in everything we do that even us atheists can't help it. Fucking Hell! There I go again and I don't believe in the place. And religions have been fighting each other for thousands of years because it isn't about religion, it is about tribal warfare. We have always been a tribal species fighting against other tribes for supremacy, religion is just the latest face on this conflict. Can we ever escape from this cycle?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Education

      People's belief in religion is inversly proportional to the level of education they receive, as explained by the falling numbers of beleivers in western societies (excluding recent* immigrants bringing their sh**t with them)

      * In the last several decades

      sh**t

      As in religion, they are most welcome here, just leave those hangups in that weird looking bin in the toilets at the port of entry.

      1. Brian Allan 1

        Re: Education

        "beleivers"?? Education...

        1. DavCrav Silver badge

          Re: Education

          ""beleivers"?? Education..."

          Education is not teh same thing as training to avoid making tpyos.

  40. h4rm0ny

    "accuses him of corrupting faith, criticizing the religious authorities in Saudi Arabia, and spreading sedition"

    I don't actually see these as a problem and I'd be proud to be accused of the latter two.

  41. Zebo-the-Fat

    I have been insulted lots of times, no problem. Am I better than their poxy little god?

    If a religion can't take a few insults it must be a crappy religion to start with.

    1. dan1980

      @Zebo-the-Fat

      The thing you are missing is that this is a a religious, rather than secular state. I.e. - their laws are religious laws and their faith is pretty much mandatory.

  42. Brian Allan 1

    Isn't religion wonderful!? Inquisitions, crusades, beheadings, floggings... All in the name of a mythical entity! Sure shows how far humans have advanced from the dark ages (and before).

  43. Alan Denman

    Just another non democracy

    Minimal to do with religion when just another inventive way of protecting regimes ?

  44. VinceLortho
    Unhappy

    It's Hard to Really Hate Anyone

    but the Saudis are making it easier. I wonder what the reaction would be if an Arab Muslim where to be flogged for denouncing Christian violence? BTW - Three cane strikes can kill you. This is not a naughty school boy backside paddling. It's inflicted by a martial artist who takes a running start and the cane is several feet long to get a whip effect. Time to go electric and turn the Saudis back into the goat herders they were before BP mucked things up.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's Hard to Really Hate Anyone

      > Three cane strikes can kill you. This is not a naughty school boy backside paddling. It's inflicted by a martial artist who takes a running start and the cane is several feet long to get a whip effect.

      Ahem. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eua1SvrRUq0.

  45. tekHedd

    Still not sure

    Was curious whether the first, second, or third comment would be the one that says "he should have known better than to say those things, he knew it was illegal," and otherwise blaming the victim. Stupid threaded view is making it difficult to be sure.

  46. jason 7

    Allah, Most gracious, most merciful!

    But where is the mercy?

    You'll never get a straight answer to that one.

    1. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Allah, Most gracious, most merciful!

      "Allah, Most gracious, most merciful!

      But where is the mercy?

      You'll never get a straight answer to that one."

      Allah might be merciful, but (some of) his followers are not.

  47. Dodgy Geezer Silver badge

    While you're at it...

    ...It's still possible that Badawi, 30, could be spared the flogging on Friday if international pressure is brought to bear on the government....

    ... you could try stopping 'dishonoured' daughters being killed, or the usual slaughter of journalists in Pakistan... Good luck with that.

    This is not a 'religious issue' in the sense of a doctrinal one. It's a straightforward cultural difference. This is standard practice for the Muslim heartlands - Saudi, Syria, Iran, Pakistan. The two Muslims who attacked Charlie were not behaving in an unusual manner - for Pakistan, where there were 15 such incidents last year alone.

    Two cultures with such major differences cannot co-exist peacefully. Unfortunately, 'multiculturism' is a sacred cow of the liberal left, so they find it quite easy to look the other way in places like Rochdale...

  48. unwarranted triumphalism

    Everybody here is missing the point...

    But I didn't really expect anything better from the perpetually offended secularist brigade.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Barbaric crimes against humanity

    Humans invented religion purely for power and violence against others.

    All the "peace" and "love" talk is just a distraction.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think they have cheap oil don't they?

    Ok carry on then.....

  51. Master Rod

    By George! I think you got it....

    Master Rod

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It is interesting...

    ...to read the reactions here with a, let's say, detached mind.

    So many people here showing respect and consideration towards others, making the effort to empathise with their points of view, being critical of what they hear and asking "what's in it for the messenger?", carefully avoiding stereotypes, I'm impressed indeed.

    :-/

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Amnesty International

    Back when I lived in Saudi Arabia I read a report that the Amnesty International website was blocked by the government in KSA.

    As I read that on Amnesty's own web page, from my house in Saudi, via my (shitty) Saudi ISP, I thought I would write to them and ask them to explain this apparent discrepancy. I am still waiting for a reply.

    This is to illustrate the point that organisations such as AI, their American competitors Human Rights Watch, Greenpeace, etc., etc., have a massive agenda (and mouths to feed), so anything one hears from them must be taken with a big pinch of salt, especially anything coming from places where they have no presence on the ground.

    Anyway, this is what a Saudi flogging looks like: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eua1SvrRUq0¹.

    I never personally witnessed one--I did however hear a first hand witness account from a former colleague of mine, which is consistent with what's shown in the video. Essentially, the flogging is supposed to be more of a humiliation act than inflicting actual serious physical injury². According to my former colleague, back in the 80s, another expat employee of his company at the time was caught considerably drunk behind the wheel of a vehicle. He was arrested, summarily judged and condemned to fifty lashes, which were duly administered in a way (according to my colleague's description) consistent with what's seen on this video. Afterwards he was taken to hospital for a check-up, in case he had suffered any injury (he hadn't, but he wouldn't volunteer for another fifty either), and deported on the next day.

    To give a bit of context, a claim of apostasy in Saudi is incredibly offensive within the local cultural context--not entirely unlike being a radical (preferably non-Christian) religious extremist in the West. If one reads the user comments accompanying the news on this subject in the Saudi/Gulf Arabic press, it's apparent that Mr. Badawi is far from popular.

    There are also other considerations that basically put the Saudi government between a rock and a hard place in this case, having to do with the internal political situation, but I do not wish to get into that at this time. Perhaps someone else with knowledge of Saudi socio-politics might feel inclined to expand on this point.

    ¹ I cannot confirm whether this is indeed Mr. Badawi, as the uploader claims.

    ² Exactly in the same way as seen in British schools perhaps a couple decades ago and which seemed to me (at the time being educated abroad) so barbaric.

  54. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  55. Zap

    How dumb is it to be worried about محمد

    I do not really care what Saudis do their own citizens in their own country.

    There was a time when I would respect others right to practice their own religion in our country but that respect is not reciprocated. They think that respect means that I believe, NO, it means I respect that they believe, even if Mohammed (which they can't even agree on an english spelling for so to clarify I will say محمد ) is just a fictional character in a book, like Spiderman.

    Now I just see it as a primitive religion practiced by dumb people and exploited by power hungry fanatics.

    Also because of their slaughter last week, an act of cowardice against unarmed civilians, not only am I going to share hundreds of offensive images of محمد (my fav is the one with the sheep and satan) but I am going to blog them and use software to spread millions of them.

    They may be offended but I say get over it كسها.

  56. Zap
    Devil

    How dumb is it to be worried about محمد

    I do not really care what Saudis do their own citizens in their own country.

    There was a time when I would respect others right to practice their own religion in our country but that respect is not reciprocated. They think that respect means that I believe, NO, it means I respect that they believe, even if Mohammed (which they can't even agree on an english spelling for so to clarify I will say محمد ) is just a fictional character in a book, like Spiderman.

    Now I just see it as a primitive religion practiced by dumb people and exploited by power hungry fanatics.

    Also because of their slaughter last week, an act of cowardice against unarmed civilians, not only am I going to share hundreds of offensive images of محمد (my fav is the one with the sheep and satan) but I am going to blog them and use software to spread millions of them.

    They may be offended but I say get over it كسها.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How dumb is it to be worried about محمد

      "Now I just see it as a primitive religion practiced by dumb people"

      That covers all mainstream religions really, although Islam is particularly primitive - and the only one that has a paedophile as it's leader

      I would also add gullible to dumb though. How in the 21st century can a rational person believe in an unproven, imaginary sky fairy?

      1. x 7

        Re: How dumb is it to be worried about محمد

        But my Sky Fairy exists and is bigger and stronger than your sky fairy

  57. unwarranted triumphalism
    Facepalm

    And here endeth the circle-jerk

    ...of the terminally self-righteous atheists.

    Keep on rocking those neckbeards guys, you're really winning over the believers.

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