Tags: Al-Qaida | America's Forum | ISIS/Islamic State | Zuhdi Jasser | Saudi | blogger | Raif Badawi

Zuhdi Jasser: Saudi Blogger Faces Death as Obama Sits on Sideline

By    |   Thursday, 05 March 2015 04:55 PM

The Saudi Arabian government is now threatening to sentence Saudi blogger Raif Badawi to death, which Dr. Zuhdi Jasser contends is happening because President Barack Obama hasn't brought the issue up with Saudi leaders.

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.

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"The cybercrime he was arrested for was because he hit the like button on a Christian Evangelical page," Jasser, president of The American Islamic Forum for Democracy, told J.D. Hayworth on "America's Forum" on Newsmax TV Thursday.

Now the Saudis are considering trying Badawi for apostasy, which if convicted, he would be sentenced to death, the UK's Daily Mail reported.

Jasser was part of a group of seven American intellectuals and religious liberty advocates, who wrote 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.

The Badawi sentence has received attention from others in the international community as well.

While Jasser said that he thinks that Saudi Arabia is considering the move of trying Badawi for apostacy because of the pressure exerted by the international community, he also thinks that the Saudis are betting on the fact that most of the "world is distracted by Iran."

In addition, right now "Secretary [of State John] Kerry is on his way to Saudi Arabia to" consult with the Saudis about the nuclear deal with Iran.

"They tried to whip [Badawi] in front of the mosque in Jeddah and the world exerted a lot of pressure, not only our letter and demands to take his place, but all of a sudden, he was no longer" whipped publicly, Jasser explained.

"They're not going to allow their population to witness that somehow they've succumbed to pressure so what they did, remember, Raif Badawi was originally arrested for apostasy and that his work somehow insulted Islam and made him no longer a Muslim," he said.

"They set aside the apostasy and somehow more compassionately were going to whip him instead of killing him, and now they're resurrecting the apostasy saying, 'OK, we won't do the flogging that's done publicly, but we'll just go ahead and kill him behind the scenes," the moderate Muslim activist contends.

"I think it's because the president, our President Obama, has not brought his name up, and they're seeing an opening to take care of this while we're distracted with Iran," Jasser added.

The Saudis are "listening and they're paying attention to Congress" on Iran, "but yet when it comes to their own hypocrisy and barbaric way they treat dissidents, they're going to ignore that.

"There's a cognitive dissonance and the only reason that's being facilitated is because they look upon President Obama as a paper tiger distracted by Iran," Jasser said.

"They say that they need him, we need them in the battle against Iran and against al-Qaida and ISIS so therefore, we're going to ignore the draconian prison that exists within their societies," he added.

However, he said that he was "very proud" that members of Congress sent a letter to the Saudis demanding that they end the "barbaric" whipping of Badawi.

Jasser said that it "really showed that we are standing behind our convictions of trying to bring the light to what's happening to people like Raif Badawi."

The president and founder of The American Islamic Forum for Democracy is author of "A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot's Fight to Save His Faith."

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The Saudi Arabian government is now threatening to sentence Saudi blogger Raif Badawi to death, which Dr. Zuhdi Jasser contends is happening because President Barack Obama hasn't brought the issue up with Saudi leaders.
Zuhdi Jasser, Saudi, blogger, Raif Badawi, Saudi Arabia
Thursday, 05 March 2015 04:55 PM
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