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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19 thoughts on “Kill Me Now

  1. I hope we did grow up as a nation to consider these guys out of touch with reality, you know, like respecting an elder in your family but not giving much of what he/she says any weight.

    Yes, some people will hang on every word, like they do around the world (Jones town), but I think most people are just tired of hearing these guys argue over every little matter… you know… it just gets old.

  2. It can at times be hard to know whether silence or silencing is tantamount to a behavioural intervention of extinguishing the undesired behaviour or at least its consequences, and when a direct and vociferous rebuttal is required. With the cultural, political, and religious intricacies underpinning this man’s ability to make an impact the response is more delicate. Hopefully he is marginalized in such a way as his followers and message aren’t given renewed vigour.

  3. Al-Ghamdi and Bin Baz have already replied, the latter with a surprisingly audacious piece in al-Watan (link: http://www.alwatan.com.sa/news/writerdetail.asp?issueno=3437&id=17995 )

    A lot of people suspect these moderate sheikhs that spring up suddenly, believing they’re an official pressure release valve, but Bin Baz’s ballsy decision to quote a whole paragraph from the late Abdullah al-Qasseemi (Saudi’s most famous atheist) raises brows.

  4. What is lamentable is that this elder gentleman has views that can affect governmental policies.

    Were it not for that, his insavoury views would not be noteworthy, except to his family or contacts.

  5. Very thoughtful replies. Is english a second language for these commenters? If so, they write very well – dare I say better than many of us Americans! :O

  6. It will come a day when you will have to answer to Allah the Just.
    Move to a Kafir country, You can have it all-
    animal style-.
    I don’t think you deserve to live in the land of our prophet sallalahu alyhi wasallam.
    May Allah guide you or break your back -along with your filthy mouth- Ameen.

  7. As a white american christian, i am so happy to read this. This is the logical, forward thinking that needs to take place in all religions, including my own. Extremism is wrong in any form. We never hear of the smart rational opinions, only those that are the most controversial, giving us a very skewed view.

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