Almost two years later, as the physician prepares to return to his homeland, the king's guards seize him and throw him in prison.
I'm being a bit unfair. Saudi Arabia has trials before throwing enemies of the crown into prison. In this case, two trials. Raouf Amin el-Arabi, the Egyptian doctor who had the dubious distinction of lasting 20 years in the House of Saud, appealed his conviction. The official charge is malpractice, by the way.
So a Saudi judge doubled his sentence.
Unless another Saudi judge gets his nose out of joint, the Egyptian doctor will serve 15 years in a Saudi prison, and get lashed 70 times a week.
My guess is that the sentence won't be carried out. Raouf Amin el-Arabi is 53, and will probably die before the full 1,500 lashes are delivered. Of course, in the interests of justice, a Saudi tormentor could go on lashing a corpse.
Or, maybe the international stink will encourage the powers that be in Saudi Arabia to letting the doctor go.
Islamic Law? Or Kangaroo Court, Saudi Style?Does this weirdly anachronistic case show that Islam is a violent cult from a barbaric age?
If that were true, Islamic nations in general could be counted on to mistreat the foreigners who do their work.
But, although Saudi Arabia can be counted on for bizarre news like this every few months, very Islamic Indonesia quietly rolls along being a nation in the information age: no junkie princesses getting doctors sentenced to a prolonged death by flogging.
I've said this before: I think that Islam, in common with some other systems of belief, is heavily influenced by whatever culture its followers have.
So, we have Indonesia being rather quietly Islamic (with some recent and disturbing exceptions), while Saudi Arabia seems determined to paint Islam as a religion of very strange and dangerous men.
- "Saudi Cleric Wants Women to Use One Eye - I'm Not Making This Up"
(October 4, 2008)
- "Chief Saudi Judge: Death to Network Owners! "
(September 19, 2008)
- "Mickey Mouse Must Die! Agent of Satan Targeted by Saudi Cleric "
(September 19, 2008)
Every Crowd Has its KooksMeanwhile, in America, a Muslim education campaign demonstrated that Muslims aren't the only group with members who are ignorant, and want to stay that way:
- "The Subway Project and 'Why Islam?' - Terrorists in the Subways! Or, Not"
(July 23, 2008)
- "Pro-Islamic Ads Coming to New York City Subways: There's a Real Danger Here, of Becoming Informed"
(July 21, 2008)
- "Islam, Christianity, Culture, and Kooks"
(November 26, 2007)
- "EGYPT: Doctor jailed and whipped in Saudi Arabia"
Babylon & Beyond / Los Angeles Times (November 11, 2008)
- "Egyptians decry doctor's sentence of 1,500 lashes"
Associated Press (November 11, 2008)
- "Protestors demand release of Egyptian doctor from Saudi"
Daily News Egypt (November 11, 2008)