In 2013, ",,,a court in Saudi Arabia handed down a shocking sentence to a young man named Raif Badawi: seven years in prison and 600 lashes. Badawi's crime,"Founding a website, Liberal Saudi Network, that was dedicated to fostering debate on religion and politics; and calling on his country to respect freedom of religion, belief, and expression, and women's rights. According to the Saudi court, Badawi, 30, was guilty of "insulting Islam."
As CFI noted, citing Amnesty International, "Badawi's sentence was overturned by an appeals court, and his case was sent for review to Jeddah's Criminal Court." BUT, in May of 2014 CFI reported, ",,,we have received bad news: the Criminal Court has sentenced Badawi to ten years in prison, 1,000 lashes, and a one million riyal fine (USD $266,631)."
In September of 2014, CFI as well as others reported that Raif's sentence was upheld. Meaning, "Badawi's sentence is final, and that Saudi officials could begin to impose lashes on Badawi within several weeks. According to the final decision, Badawi will receive 50 lashes per session, with a break of no less than a week between sessions. The lashings will be carried out in public after Friday prayers in front of al-Jafali mosque in Jeddah."
As of now, 11:51 AM (EDT) 8/28/2015,Raif has only received one round of lashes. But it is Friday and fear remains. Which all of the preceding brings me to this, Ensaf Haider, the wife of Raif Badawi.
I have no words to described what is contained in this video other than devotion, courage and strength. It is those same qualities that make this video all the more incredible as Ensaf can't answer a couple of questions regarding Saudi Arabia out of fear that it might jeopardize Raif's fate. It is all the more amazing that Ensaf continues to travel and share Raif's plight, most recently The Non Conference held in Kitchener, Ontario (August 21-22). Although I was not able to attend, my partner in crime was.**
My take away from VICE's interview, besides needing a tissue and awe at this amazing woman, Ensaf's thoughts concerning the apparent hypocrisy of the Canadian government [7:50 mark] - Raif's imprisonment and punishment yet maintaining a important trade relationship with Saudi: "Raif's cause has nothing to do with issues of political or economic exchanges between states, it is an exclusively humanitarian cause." That to me is grace under pressure.
10 Years in Jail & 1,000 Lashes: In Conversation with Ensaf Haidar - YouTube
**Please note that in regards to Raif's plight I am a "noob", hence the mini history lesson. As I have stated before, the debauchery surrounding Islam for some reason never "interested" me. My bias of "it doesn't affect me" clouded the humanist in me to the point of total ignorance. That changed as I "met" new people, specifically my friend and fellow host of Beyond the Trailer Park, Deborah McTaggart, who has a keen interest in Islam and all its atrocities.
Over the course of the past 2 months, BTTP has been graced by the presence (directly and indirectly) of many ex-Muslims affected by the horrible ideology espoused by various Islamic regimes. It was through talking with these individuals that I realized I can't ignore the human rights abuses any more.
As of this writing details are still being finalized to have Ensaf join us on BTTP. Regretfully our first attempt fell through due to issues with translation. Ensaf does not speak English and Deb's French suks (her words, not mine). So hopefully in the near future I will be able to post my impressions and experience.