Raif Badawi started a blog where readers could openly discuss religion, politics and other topics in Saudi Arabia. For this peaceful act, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes. On January 9, the first of these floggings was carried out.
Raif is at-risk of further floggings each week. His wife hasn't seen him and fears for his life. So do we at Amnesty.
Call the Saudi Arabian authorities and ask them to end Raif's floggings and release him immediately.
To reach a Saudi official:
Please call the Saudi embassy by calling (202) 342-3800. Press 2 for English, then 0 for the operator. If the operator is not available, you can also try 3 for Public Affairs. You might say something like this:
My name is [first name], and I am profoundly disturbed by the flogging of Raif Badawi. Flogging is a flagrant violation of the prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment in international law. I urge you to prevent any future flogging of Raif Badawi and to release him immediately and unconditionally.
Please use the form provided to let us know how the call went.
Please note: If you do not reach an operator upon the first time you call, please try again. The Saudi embassy is not used to receiving a large volume of phone calls, but trying again will often put you in touch. Thank you for your resilient efforts!
On Wenesday January 21st, 2015, we gathered in front of Saudi Arabia Consulate for freeing Raif Badawi condamned to 10 years in prison and beeing flogged 1000 times for writing a blog.
Pictures from MLK Day: we marched with BLAC MOM, End Mass Incarceration and TCADP.
URGENT ACTION FOR RAIF!
Amnesty has learned that Raif Badawi is to be flogged again this Friday.
Please help us generate another round of pressure on the Saudi Embassy in DC by doing these 3 things today and tomorrow:
1) Call the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington D.C. at (202) 342-3800. Press 2 for English, then 0 for the operator. (Or, if that doesn't work, press 3 for Public Affairs or 6 for the press office)
Sample call script:
Hi, my name is _____________, I'm calling from [City, State] about Saudi Arabian blogger Raif Badawi. I ask that embassy officials act now to ensure that he is not publicly flogged again. Raif if a Prisoner of Conscience, and should be immediately and unconditionally released. I am also disturbed that the Saudi Authorities are using flogging as punishment, as it is a violation of international law.
2) Take and share the online petition at http://www.amnestyusa.org/stop_public_flogging_of_raif
3) Tweet @SaudiEmbassyUSA using the hashtags #FreeRaif #Istandwithraif and this URL http://www.amnestyusa.org/stop_public_flogging_of_raif
→ Please let us know if you make a call so that we can keep a tally.
Send us an e-mail at email@example.com
Click here for Amnesty's latest press release https://t.e2ma.net/click/pdo6h/d4sm2i/hzjfgc
Click here to see the last Urgent Action on Raif Badawi's case https://t.e2ma.net/click/pdo6h/d4sm2i/xrkfgc
Please note that Amnesty sections around the world are pressuring Saudi embassies in their countries as well. Together, we can use the power of collective action to free Raif to his wife and children in Canada.
Thank you for taking action with us!
Saudi Authorities Must Put an End to Horrific Public Flogging of Bloggeract.amnestyusa.orgOn January 9, Saudi Arabian authorities publicly flogged blogger Raif Badawi. They plan to subject him to 950 more lashes over the coming...
Leave Your Faith at the Door.
I once had a supervisor (who will remain nameless) where I interned at a faith and community service based organization that (will also remain nameless) during my senior year at University of St. Thomas whom I quoted a number of times stating that “One should never judge a faith by those whom claim to practice it”. It just works better to leave it as anonymous.
He (or maybe she) was entirely correct about his observation in that every faith has been misused to pursue other less virtuous agendas. One’s religious faith is not a bad or evil thing by itself and can be used for many admirable virtues including kindness, compassion, justice, mercy and forgiveness among others. It provides many the inspiration to live selflessly and serve a greater purpose. The problem is that when humans enter the picture that faith (along with guns or alcohol) is misused for other purposes. This generalization is not some random stereotype but applies to all faiths that are practiced by humans. My boss was correct not to distinguish any specific faith in his statement as all faiths through the course of human history have been misused to do ill will against humanity. Common examples include the classic Jihad (all of them), Christian crusades, Spanish Inquisition, Salem witch hunts, mass slaughter at the Aztec temples to the sun deity and thousands more.
I bring up humanity’s misuse of religion for the sake of understanding the problem of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi and his problems with the government of Saudi Arabia. The government maintains that as a result of his violations of Islamic Law, he is to suffer public flogging of 50 lashes every Friday during a term of 10 years of prison. This barbaric punishment sounds like something that the Roman Empire or Attila the Hun dreamed up but make no mistake as to the fact that this still happens today. I believe that the cause of these human rights and human decency violations are not a direct result of Islam or Islamic law but rather the governments misunderstanding and misuse (or abuse) of Islam or Islamic law. The reality is that Muslims are not evil people or at least no more than any other ethnicity but rather have subjugated to a government wanting for find justification for violence (much in the same as the Aztecs did when the thought it was productive to offer human sacrifices to spur desired weather for agriculture). All of us know that human misuse and abuse of various faiths is reminiscent of world history to such a degree that I do not have time to publish my own encyclopedia to the subject. That means that for a full indictment as to how humans misuse religion one may recourse to Wikipedia for more details.
You may accuse me of picking on Muslims for their reprisals against female drivers, females walking the streets alone or for their simple lack of respect for the most basic freedom of speech but this is not the case. Even my very own Catholic faith did this too. Many were tortured and executed during the Middle Ages, Renaissance, regime or the Tudor kings of England, and Spanish inquisition for daring to imagine challenge to authority. As a Roman Catholic I have a high regard for my faith and church and do believe that it has come a very long way from barbaric brutal history to the global institution that it is today. It has certainly become less violent but there remains significant progress ahead for equal human rights. Such things include the prohibition of female clergy (to preform sacraments), the acceptance of the LBGT population and better serve justice. As good as my faith is I also know that the worst two insults that I could ever do to it would be to use it as an excuse to justify violence or to force that faith belief upon someone else. Both of these things are a misuse of any religion because faith is a wholly exclusive concept to violence and faith is a human choice that one has the free will to make.
All of this is the reason that when our government in the United States was put together the very first amendment put together by James Madison was to prohibit Congress from establishing a national religion. Our founders wanted to avoid all of the mass slaughter in the name of faith that had happened through human history and thought that this was a substantial leap forward in doing so. It would be nice to see other nations renounce their theocratic delusions and to accept people of all ethnicities and faiths. There is no place for religion or faith of any kind in our government in the United States and thank the heavens for that. Oh, the many ways faith could be abused if it were in Congress….. just look at other theocratic societies to put the fear of God into you (poor choice of words - no pun intended).
For those of you still in Holiday mode, Reason TV made a video of the sad reality of our police militarization
and lost drug war. It’s a very serious issue but the video made me laugh so you can watch that here
One of my New Year’s resolutions was to resurrect this blog and use it to really go at the major issues we
face. Too many recent events have happened without any response or action from Amnesty International
here in Houston and we need to step up and show more leadership.
I noted 2 articles that I really wanted people to stop and take a look at.
The first is an article by CNN’s Ann O’Neil in which she descriptively and accurately portrays one of the
more unknown superheroes of our world. She follows Officer Deon Joseph of LAPD’s street patrol. His
beat to do foot patrol is Los Angeles’ “Skid Row” or more commonly known as the Homeless Capital of
the United States. The large imposing black cop nicknamed “angel cop” by the residents of his beat consist
of the most indigent, desperate, despised and ill of our society and he loves them as if they were his own
family. O’Neil follows Officer Joseph through a day of patrol handling homelessness, prostitutions, mental
illness, and drug addictions of those struggling with basic human rights of survival. For a cop who had
never had to fire his gun on the job he also has some deep reflections about the recent violence that has
caused a rift between the police and the people. I am someone that gives police a lot of grief and
considers Commissioner Gordon as the only cop that I would ever trust but even I had a since of respect
for Officer joseph after reading this piece. (http://www.cnn.com/2015/01/02/us/skid-rowcop/
The second piece of literature that I would refer to readers attention is the recent article by Radley Balko
of the Washington Post entitled “Horrifying Civil Liberties Predictions for 2015”. Balko is the author of the
recently released book “Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces” and one of
my personal heroes of the fight for our civil liberties. Read through the list to discover horrifying
nightmare breaches of our basic human rights and liberties by those that we entrusted to administer
justice. That such things happens really puts the fear of God into you.
Let’s work to make sure that these things don’t happen in 2015.
Charles Lee Baird