Muslims for Progressive Values Condemns the Flogging of Raif Badawi

Muslims for Progressive Values (MPV) denounces the arrest, conviction, sentence and flogging of Raif Badawi in the strongest terms.
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Los Angeles - California - US

LOS ANGELES - Jan. 8, 2015 - PRLog -- On Friday, January 9, 2015, Raif Badawi will be publicly tortured with 50 lashes after the Friday prayers of the al-Jafari Mosque in Jeddah. Raif Badawi was arrested in 2013 for allegedly “criticizing religious police” and calling for “religious liberalization” on a website he co-founded: the Liberal Muslim Network - a platform promoting free public debate and discussion. The sentence he received in 2014 from Jeddah’s Criminal Court consists of a ten-year prison term, 1,000 lashes over a period of 20 weeks and a fine of 1 million Saudi Arabian riyals (about US$266,600).

MPV firmly supports and promotes the freedom of expression, whether political, artistic, social or religious, and we believe that no one should be persecuted, arbitrarily imprisoned or detained for declaring unpopular or so-called blasphemous opinions. The prosecution of Raif Badawi and other human rights activists who have expressed religious dissent is both contrary to the example of our Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who permitted debate, discussion and dissent (ikhtilaf and ijtihad) and against the teachings of the Holy Qur’an.

Moreover, MPV calls on Saudi Arabia to uphold its obligations under international law, particularly under the United Nations Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhumane or Degrading Treatment or Punishment since flogging and other forms of corporal punishment constitute as torture.

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attack, we call for States around the world to protect the fundamental human right of freedom of expression. “It is the jailers and the murderers of those who dare to express themselves who are the blasphemers,” said MPV President Ani Zonneveld, “and to call themselves defenders of Islam is self-glorification”.

In defence of freedom of conscience and expression, we must not forget other activists who have been unjustly detained, such as human rights defender and Saudi Arabia’s first female lawyer Souaad Al-Shammary and Raif Badawi’s lawyer and prominent human rights activist Waleed Abulkhair.

MPV calls on the Saudi Arabian authorities to lead by example, to truly live by the values of the Qur’an and the example of Prophet Muhammad, by immediately quashing the sentences of Raif Badawi, Waleed Abulkhair and Souaad Al-Shammary and by releasing each one of them immediately and unconditionally.

Kelly Wentworth
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Tags:Raif Badawi, Human Rights, Islam, Progressive Muslims, Saudi Arabia
Location:Los Angeles - California - United States
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