Kill Me Now

For someone who would probably enjoy the lifestyle of a caveman, Shaikh Abdul-Rahman al-Barrak has an impressive ability to occasionally make news headlines with his ridiculous, albeit dangerous, fatwas. His latest fatwa called for opponents of the kingdom’s strict segregation of men and women to be put to death if they refuse to abandon their ideas.

Some people think the best way to deal with this fatwa is to simply ignore it, because the more media attention it gets the more weight it will carry. I disagree. It might be true that al-Barrak is an old man who is still living in the past, but failing to address his fatwa might lead to serious consequences. This guy has a loyal following who admire him and regard his opinions highly.

What if one of his enthusiastic fans decided to act upon this fatwa and killed somebody? What if someone from those who spoke in favor of mixing like justice minister Shaikh Mohammed al-Eisa, Shaikh Ahmed al-Ghamdi, or Shaikh Ahmed Bin Baz got killed over this?

That is unlikely to happen, but it remains a possibility nevertheless. As Ebtihal Mubarak tweeted earlier today, “there is a huge number of unemployed men who are agitated, and it’s easy to rally them using the argument that the government is focusing on women and mixing of genders while ignoring them.”

I think all those concerned should speak out against this fatwa and denounce al-Barrak. The official religious establishment, namely the Council of Senior Ulema, should take a stand and make a statement here. But based on their recent history with the mixing at KAUST drama, I’m pretty sure they won’t say a single word about this.

I hate to repeat myself, but here is what I said two years ago when al-Barrak released another one of his insane fatwas:

I can imagine that neither the government nor the official religious establishment would speak out on this issue, but if they fail to address this properly then they should stop whining about extremism and how terrorists are simply a “misguided group.” It is this kind of dangerous messages that feed extremism and donate fuel to terrorists to continue their lethal destructive acts. Keeping silent and later blaming “external influences” for what happens here will be a hard sell…

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  • I have been following this photoblog for a while. Michael is a Swiss photographer who works with a publishing company in Jeddah, and he has been posting different pictures from the Kingdom. I have frequently linked to them on my link blog, but today I was dismayed to read that he removed a series of abaya pictures that he previously posted because he was afraid that his “association with KAUST could get the university in trouble.” I’m not a KAUST basher, but I’m a KAUST skeptic, and removing these pics only deepens my skepticism. UPDATE: I talked to Michael and he said he will repost the pictures.
  • Indonesian housemaids who want to come work in Saudi Arabia must take a Sharia crash course before they can come here. The course will include prophet’s teachings about black magic and the punishment of those who might use it, as well as some basic Arabic vocabulary. The Saudi government hope that such program would reduce the number of runaway maids who eventually get employed in the housemaids black market.