200 lashes for 'mocking long beards'

A SAUDI academic has been sentenced to 200 lashes and time in jail for insulting an Islamist colleague, a Saudi-owned newspaper reported today.Hamza al-Muzaini, a lecturer in linguistics at King Saud University, was accused by Abdullah al-Barak, a lecturer of Islamic culture at the same university, of defamation and insult, the London-based Al-Hayat reported.

Barak, who is described as a radical salafist - a strict form of Sunni Islam - reportedly accused Muzaini of "mocking long beards" and questioning his knowledge in an article published a few months ago, other reports said.

Muzaini was sentenced to 200 lashes, four months in prison and banned from publishing, a verdict he immediately appealed, the newspaper said.

A disturbing article that presents a harsh counterpart to the current free speech/academic speech Ward Churchill fiasco.


Blogger W1ll13 30% Hacker said...

It seems now that the punishment has been upped from 200 to 275 lashes.


10:54 AM  
Blogger The Neologiac Spooneristocrat said...

Yes, it really makes your reflect on the principles of academic freedom. The conditions in Saudi Arabia are really deplorable, not just for academics, but also for journalists, religious minorities, gender minorities (women, gays), people who'd like to vote, i.e. it's bad across the board. The neo-cons may brand Iran as part of the Axis of Evil while doing business with the Saud family, but even the scandal with Prof. Aghajari in Tehran 2 years ago never involved flogging...Saudi Arabia is barbarous in its medievalism. As an ex-Muslim raised to revere all things Saudi (many Indian Muslims really do have a Mecca complex), I suffer from no P.C. guilt or liberal-relavistic waffling in making such a categorical denunciation. It's just barbarous, and we Americans cannot keep granting the Saudi royals a blank check.

1:10 AM  
Blogger W1ll13 30% Hacker said...

It looks like Crown Prince Abdullah has stepped in with a pardon (sort of). At least the linguist won't be getting lashed now.


8:24 AM  

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