Alliance Defending Freedom: It’s days away: The Supreme Court’s marriage decision is expected to come down on June 29.
The Guardian: Raif Badawi, the Saudi blogger who was sentenced to a decade in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam, now faces being beheaded for renouncing the religion, his family have said.
Associated Press: The planned flogging of a Saudi blogger convicted of insulting Islam has been delayed for a second straight week, a leading international rights group said Thursday, a move that comes amid mounting pressure from Saudi Arabia’s Western allies for authorities to cancel the punishment.
The Wall Street Journal: The flogging of a writer convicted of insulting Islam has renewed debate over corporal punishment in Saudi Arabia at a time the ultraconservative country is trying to distance itself from extremist movements such as Islamic State.
Huffington Post: Seven religious freedom advocates have offered to personally receive 100 lashes each in the place of Raif Badawi, a liberal Saudi blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for “insulting Islam through electronic channels.”
The great wall of Saudi Arabia: Royal family constructing 600-mile barrier on Iraqi border to keep ISIS militants out
The Christian Post: In response to the growing threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist group, the royal family of Saudi Arabia is having a 600-mile barrier constructed to completely block the Iraqi portion of the Saudi northern border, hoping to prevent ISIS militants from infiltrating the kingdom.
AL Monitor: The injustices of the Saudi justice system came to the forefront twice in one week. Lashing liberal blogger Raif Badawi and publicly beheading a woman convicted of murdering her stepdaughter were carried out in the name of Islam by a regime that is so desperate to flaunt its Islamic credentials now that there are other emerging so-called Islamic states around the region. The regime has cooperated with the international alliance against the Islamic State (IS), but while adopting IS’ mode of punishment.
Christian News Network: Recent reports state that officials in the Islamic country of Saudi Arabia have passed a law that may impose the death penalty on Bible smugglers and any others distributing religious materials that are not of the Muslim religion.
The Washington Post: A Saudi court on Monday upheld a 10-year jail sentence and 1,000 lashes against Raef Badawi, founder of a liberal human rights group, for insulting Islam, an activist said.
CNN: Since 1999, the U.S. State Department has tracked the world’s worst abusers of religious rights. As the most recent report notes, it has never lacked for material. Persecutions of people of faith are rising across the globe.
CNSNews: The top ten countries for persecuting Christians over the last year were: North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Pakistan, Iran and Yemen.
WorldNetDaily: Atrocities by Syrian jihadist rebels have reached sensational new levels, according to a revered nun working with persecuted Christians and an explosive new video report. Sister Hatune Dogan told WND in a Skype interview that members of the Syrian opposition are draining the blood of Christians they behead and selling vials to Islamic radicals for $100,000 a piece.
CNSNews: Although the U.S. State Department recently singled out Russia by name to criticize its law prohibiting homosexual propaganda aimed at youth, the same State Department refused to comment on Saudi Arabia where homosexual conduct is punishable by death.
Fox News: China, Russia, Saudi Arabia and Vietnam are among the nations running unopposed for seats on the Human Rights Council, the U.N.’s highest rights watchdog body, a prospect that has independent human rights groups crying foul.
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday Saudi Arabia freed 24-year-old Hamza Kashgari after he served 20 months in prison over a series of Tweets he posted expressing conflicting feelings about the Prophet Muhammad. After threats from religious conservatives over the Tweets when they appeared, Kashgari had fled the country. However he was extradited by Malaysian authorities when Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud ordered his arrest.
AP: A Saudi Arabian court sentenced a prominent lawyer to three months in prison on Tuesday, a rights group said, while the same day a Saudi writer was released from jail after being investigated for blasphemy.
FT.com: Emboldened by a nod and a wink from Saudi officials, including press reports that the feared religious police, or mutawa, were warned against arresting women who drive, over 16,000 men and women signed the online petition to oppose the ban, which is not enshrined in law.
Independent: Saudi Arabia’s government has warned it will use force if campaigners take to the streets protest against the country’s ban on women driving.
AP: Saudi Arabia on Friday rejected its freshly-acquired seat on the U.N. Security Council, saying the 15-member body is incapable of resolving world conflicts such as the Syrian civil war.
Bob Taylor at Washington Times: Responding to Christian radio host Jan Markel, Bachmann said, “We’re seeing this all across America. It’s like groups want to top each other and be the new latest, largest mosque in North America. What we’re told is that many of them are funded by the Saudi Arabians or the Qataris. And so many of these mosques’ funding actually comes from foreign countries that have interests in advancing the goals and beliefs of the violent Muslim Brotherhood.” To some that might seem to be a conspiracy theory or Islamophobia. The problem is that Bachmann is closer to fact than fiction.
News.com.pk: The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia told over a million pilgrims that Islam teaches peace and does not allow terrorism. He called upon leaders of Muslim countries to work for the well being of people. “Your nation is a trust with you. You must safeguard its security, stability and resources.”
Interfax: The first person of “the most peaceful trend in Islam” again urged to aggressive actions against Christians. It evidently proves that official Wahhabism-Salafism is identical to the ideology of terrorists, who are in fact destroying Christian churches and their parishioners from Pakistan to Nigeria, working especially hard in Syria,” Silantyev told Interfax-Religion.
AP: Prosecutors dropped a human trafficking case on Friday against a Saudi princess after a Kenyan maid alleged her passport had been taken away and she had been forced to work long hours for meager pay.
Wall Street Journal: Prince Bandar—for two decades one of the most influential deal makers in Washington as Saudi ambassador but who had largely disappeared from public view—is now reprising his role as a geopolitical operator. This time it is to advance the Saudi kingdom’s top foreign-policy goal, defeating Syrian President Assad and his Iranian and Hezbollah allies . . . The conflict there has become a proxy war for Middle East factions, and Saudi Arabia’s efforts in Syria are just one sign of its broader effort to expand its regional influence. The Saudis also have been outspoken supporters of the Egyptian military in its drive to squelch the Muslim Brotherhood, backing that up with big chunks of cash.
Yahoo (Reuters): Saudi Arabia is seeking to tighten control over web-based applications that offer a freedom to communicate that is impossible for most Saudis in the real world, and may even seek to ban such apps altogether.
USCIRF: The only thing Mr. Badawi appears to be guilty of is creating a platform on the Internet for religious debate in Saudi Arabia, a right he is guaranteed to under international law. All charges should be dropped and Mr. Badawi should be released immediately and unconditionally,” said USCIRF Chairman Robert George.
CNSNews: The sentencing of a Saudi blogger to seven years’ imprisonment and 600 lashes for blasphemy spotlights again the fact that the U.S. administration has for years waived the one legislative tool available for putting pressure on the kingdom over religious freedom violations.
The Times of India: An international rights group condemned the sentencing of a Saudi Arabian website founder to be whipped 600 times and jailed for seven years for violating Islamic values, saying it undermined the kingdom’s stated support for religious debate.
Hurriyetdaily News: Turkey’s secular system is the main factor that differentiates Turkey from Arab countries in terms of political Islam, according to a former Turkish foreign minister. ‘Had Egyptians endorsed a secular Constitution, they would have been somewhere else,’ says Yaşar Yakış, a former envoy to Cairo
AP: Saudi princess charged with human trafficking was freed after posting $5 million bail, but authorities imposed strict travel requirements and GPS tracking to keep her in Southern California.
AP: Saudi Arabia’s finance minister says the kingdom has pledged $5 billion in grants and loans to Egypt’s new government, a second major promise of aid from the Gulf to the cash-strapped country after the ouster of President Mohammed Morsi.
Global Voices: According to Al-Rasheed, they were sitting outside a cafe when a CPVPV’s car passed by to call people to leave the area to perform evening prayers. He said he argued with the CPVPV member whether sitting at public places at prayer times was illegal.
Religion Clause Blog: Naharnet today reports that a court in the Saudi Arabian city of Khobar has sentenced two men for helping a young woman, identified only as “the girl of Khobar”, convert to Christianity and flee to Sweden.
Emirates247.com: A well-known Saudi Islamic scholar has issued a new fatwa (edict) saying holding elections for a president or another form of leadership is prohibited in Islam.
Gatestone Institute: Saudi Arabia has officially opened the doors of a controversial new “interreligious and intercultural dialogue center” in the Austrian capital, Vienna. The King Abdullah International Center for Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Dialogue was inaugurated during an elaborate ceremony at the Hofburg Palace in downtown Vienna on November 26
Religion Clause Blog: Yesterday, the inauguration ceremony marking the official opening of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue (KAICIID) was held in Vienna, Austria, the Centre’s home base. Among those speaking at the opening ceremony was U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon (full text of remarks).
Reuters: Saudi judges who enforce sharia (Islamic law) have condemned what they see as “the stench of Western ideas” in sweeping legal reforms pushed by King Abdullah, underscoring friction between government modernizers and religious hardliners.
StCatherinesStandard.ca: Saudi millionaires who flout Canadian laws by arriving with multiple wives will be kicked out if immigration authorities find they lied about their polygamous relationships.
Obama family busted in Shariah scheme: Foundation funding training for Kenyan Saudi-style government
Jerome Corsi at WorldNetDaily: In the interview, Musa Ismail Obama, President Obama’s first cousin in Kenya, told the Arabic-language satellite TV network Al-Jazeera that the Saudi Arabian royal family has developed a strong relationship with the Obama family in their home village of Kogelo in Alego, Siaya District, West Kenya.
AP: Saudi authorities instructed the religious police, run by the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, to draw up guidelines to keep individual officers from imposing their personal interpretations of Islamic rules
Washington Times: Since late July Saudi media have been buzzing with reports that a 28-year-old Saudi woman has embraced Christianity and fled the country, staying initially in a church in Lebanon before moving on to Sweden. …
Al Arabiya: Western Michigan University is getting ready for the arrival of 300 students from Saudi Arabia, one of the Middle Eastern countries’ largest delegations.
Catholic Culture: The six men and 29 women were arrested after police stormed a prayer vigil at a private residence in Jeddah, the nation’s second largest city, in December.
PressTV: The numbers of political prisoners in Saudi jails are shocking. How is it that this goes unnoticed by much of the international community?
AP: Saudi authorities are warning non-Muslim expatriates against eating, drinking or smoking in public during Ramadan, the monthlong sunrise-to-sunset fast – or face expulsion.
Reuters: Saudi Arabia is studying new regulations to criminalise insulting Islam, including in social media, and the law could carry heavy penalties, a Saudi paper said on Sunday.
Carnegie Endowment: Arabic press reported on May 29 that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia summoned twenty prominent Salafi clerics to Riyadh to ban them from soliciting donations for Syria’s embattled citizenry.
San Francisco Chronicle: Venezuela surpassed Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest holder of proven oil reserves, a resource that President Hugo Chavez promises to tap if he gets re-elected in October.
Catholic Culture: A Melkite Greek Catholic archimandrite has denounced Western media coverage of the Syrian conflict. “The reality on the ground is far from the picture that imposes disinformation in Western media,” said Msgr. Philippe Tournyol Clos. “Opposition forces have occupied two areas, Diwan Al Bustan and Hamidieh, where there are all the churches and bishoprics.
Washington Post: A defense lawyer in Kuwait says a court has sentenced a man to 10 years in prison for Twitter posts deemed insulting to Islam and to the rulers of Gulf allies Saudi Arabia and Bahrain.
Reuters: Saudi Arabia is edging closer to setting a minimum age for marriage, a Justice Ministry official was quoted as saying on Wednesday, following international criticism of cases of child brides.
JD Journal: A law that bans gays and ‘tom boys,’ lesbians, from attending schools and universities is being enforced by the Saudi Arabian government. The country has stated that they have to change their appearance and their behavior.
Christian Science Monitor: A tentative UN-brokered ceasefire does not settle Western concerns over Saudi intervention in Syria. While the US and its allies are wary of seeing Syria become a sectarian battleground, the power brokers in Riyadh seem to have been hurtling toward it – with a form of state-sponsored jihad.
Washington Times: Turkey’s top imam blasted the Saudi grand mufti’s call to “destroy all the churches” in the Gulf region, saying that the announcement is in total contradiction to the peaceful teachings of the Muslim religion.
Catholic Culture: Church leaders in Europe have decried the announcement by Saudi Arabia’s top Islamic leader for the destruction of all Christian churches on the Arabian peninsula.
Financial Times: Tehran has warned Saudi Arabia several times over the last two months not to increase its oil production to offset the impact of the US and European sanctions on Tehran’s crude exports.
Washington Times: If the pope called for the destruction of all the mosques in Europe, the uproar would be cataclysmic. Pundits would lambaste the church, the White House would rush out a statement of deep concern, and rioters in the Middle East would kill each other in their grief. But when the most influential leader in the Muslim world issues a fatwa to destroy Christian churches, the silence is deafening.
Religion Clause: The New York Times reported yesterday that Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari was stopped by Malaysian authorities at Kuala Lumpur airport on Thursday and was deported back to Saudi Arabia at the request of the Saudi king where the journalist will face blasphemy charges . . .
OneNewsNow.com: Thirty-five Christians have been jailed in Saudi Arabia for worshiping in their own homes according to a recent report. The news only surfaced this week that the Christians have been imprisoned for over a month.
News from The Associated Press: An Australian man who received 75 lashes in Saudi Arabia after being convicted of blasphemy has returned home.
News from The Associated Press: A Saudi-backed interfaith center was inaugurated Thursday in Vienna, igniting debate over the subject of religious tolerance.
Boston.com: The alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States may be an act of war against the U.S., the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said Wednesday.
Jerusalem Post: The textbook, which warns students of democratic countries’ attempts to Westernize Muslim countries by advancing the United Nations’ human rights agenda, has received little attention in the media, where restrictive laws passed in response to the Arab Spring. The Saudi government can levy fines and jail sentences for criticizing government institutions.
News from The Associated Press: Saudi King Abdullah has overturned a court ruling sentencing a Saudi woman to be lashed 10 times for defying the kingdom’s ban on female drivers, a government official said Wednesday.
News from The Associated Press: Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, considered a reformer by the standards of his own ultraconservative kingdom, decreed on Sunday that women will for the first time have the right to vote and run in local elections due in 2015.
OneNewsNow.com: The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomes the Obama administration’s release of the Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, and the Commission is urging the U.S. government to increase action to promote freedom of religion or belief. Burma, Eritrea, China, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Uzbekistan are eight “countries of particular concern,” but USCIRF spokesperson Elizabeth Cassidy says her group thinks the list is incomplete . . .