Friday, November 14, 2008

Make That Two Egyptian Doctors, a Saudi Princess, and Thousands of Lashes

A Saudi judge sentencing a doctor to 15 years and 1,500 lashes may be a bigger deal than I thought. Sure, it will almost certainly be a case of death by slow torture, but this is Saudi Arabia: They do things the old-fashioned way there.

Apparently, Egyptians and the Egyptian government don't see eye-to-eye with Saudi justice in this case.

More details are seeping into the news over here. Turns out there are two doctors involved. Rauf Amin Mohammad al-Arabi, who we heard about earlier, and Shawky Abd-Rabbu. They were convicted of prescribing morphine to a Saudi princess. She "then" became a drug addict.

Looks like she may have been prescribed morphine in America, and told the Egyptian docs to give her morf. There are at least two ways to look at this:
  • It's the fault of the Americans
  • Princess was a junkie when she met the doctors
The doctors denied the allegations, and got their sentences doubled to the 1,500-lash level when they appealed.

If what a family member says is true, we get an interesting look at Islamic justice, Saudi style:

"The sister of Abd-Rabbu said her brother was coerced into making false confessions and the Saudi authorities had threatened to imprison his wife who is also working in the kingdom."

A story about a princess who gets a trusted old doctor and his colleague killed by slow torture might have been mildly entertaining as a bad B-movie flick.

Being played out in real life, it's appalling.

The Egyptian government has banned more Egyptian doctors going to work in Saudi Arabia. The ones who are there already can stay and take their chances. Smart move, I'd say, as far as it goes.

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, the House of Saud's very own Islamic law rules the land, and the Saudi royal family won't comment on the little issue of the princess and the flogged doctors.

The Saudi king's official title translates as "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques." I wonder if this "Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques" has any clue, what this sort of barbaric 'justice' does to the perception of Islam outside his borders?

Change in the Middle East?

The BBC article wraps up with "Egyptian newspapers blame their own government, which they say suffers an inferiority complex when it comes to dealing with the oil rich Saudis, says our correspondent."

I could be wrong, but the House of Saud may be losing its grip on the respect of the rest of the Middle East. And that could lead to less 'pure' forms of Islam getting a hearing. Which might not be such a bad thing: at least for doctors dealing with very rich and influential patients.

Related post: In the news:

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.