Tags: America's Forum | Dr. Zudhi Jasser | Saudi Arabia | blogger | public lashing

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser: I'm Willing to Take Lashes for Saudi Blogger

By    |   Thursday, 22 January 2015 03:13 PM

Dr. Zuhdi Jasser tells Newsmax TV that the reason he is willing to take 100 of the Saudi Arabian blogger's 1,000 lashes is because Raif Badawi's cause for religious liberty is no different from his own.

Jasser, who is the founder and president of The American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told J.D. Hayworth and Miranda Khan on "America's Forum" on Thursday that he and six other "religious freedom activists" decided to make the offer because "this man is no different than any of us who fight for religious freedom."

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Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes as well as a fine equal to $266,000 for allegedly insulting Islam and Saudi clerics by setting up a website for religious debate and showing support for Christian groups on his Facebook page, The Telegraph is reporting.

The six other American intellectuals and religious liberty advocates, who have written and signed a letter to the Saudi Arabian government asking that Badawi either be released or that Saudi officials allow them to take 100 lashes each in the blogger's place are all members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

It is a diverse group of Republicans, Democrats, liberals, conservatives, Christians, Jews, and Jasser, who is a Muslim. Jasser is the author of "A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot's Fight to Save His Faith".

The group also includes Robert P. George, conservative Princeton University professor and vice chairman of the commission; Mary Ann Glendon, board member for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty; Daniel Mark, political science professor at Villanova University; Hannah Rosenthal, chief executive of the Milwaukee Jewish Federation, Eric Schwartz, University of Minnesota dean of the Humphrey School of Public Affairs; and Katrina Lantos Swett, president of the Lantos Foundation for Human Rights & Justice.

"[Badawi's] a devout Muslim who basically started a website called 'Free Saudi Liberals' and we said, 'If you're going to flog him, flog us instead if you're not going to release him,' " Jasser explained, adding that the proposal is "not an empty gesture."

" 'Free Saudi Liberals' basically asked about having a diverse forum for discussion," he said.

"He was arrested because on his Facebook page he liked Christian Facebook pages, he disagreed with the clerics and the leaders of the Saudi government," he added.

"He did things which I do every day in America and yet [President Barack Obama] hasn't uttered his name, our president hasn't said anything, and we're just sort of standing by," Jasser told Newsmax. 

Badawi received his first round of lashings on Jan. 9 in public in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia near the Red Sea. The lashings are supposed to be spread out in 50 increments over 20 weeks, so there is time for recovery in between. However, the Saudi blogger has yet to have his second flogging because he has yet to recover from the first set of lashes.

"Many of the victims of the governmental beating for blasphemy die before they get to the 1,000th lash," Jasser said.

"I see the Saudi clerics who are whipping him in Jeddah in public no different than the terrorists who assassinated the cartoonists in Paris," he contends.

"Not only do we want his flogging to stop, he needs to be released unconditionally," he added. "He's not a criminal."

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Dr. Zuhdi Jasser tells Newsmax TV that the reason he is willing to take 100 of the Saudi Arabian blogger's 1,000 lashes is because Raif Badawi's cause for religious liberty is no different from his own.
Dr. Zudhi Jasser, Saudi Arabia, blogger, public lashing
Thursday, 22 January 2015 03:13 PM
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