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Sun 24 Aug 2014 11:05 AM

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Arrests in Saudi Arabia over atheist video

The kingdom’s religious police also have threatened jail for those behind a video of a man impersonating a Haia officer, threatening men who blackmail single women

Arrests in Saudi Arabia over atheist video
Handcuff

Saudi Arabia’s religious police has threatened to jail those behind two videos, including one promoting atheism, according to local media.

The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (the Haia) has denied a man who appears to be one of its personnel in a clip is a member of the Haia.

In the video, the man, standing next to a Haia-marked vehicle threatens homosexuals and men who blackmail young women.

Haia spokesman Turki Al Shelayyil warned it would investigate and punish not only the “impersonator” but the person who filmed the video, Arabic daily Al Hayat reported.

Impersonation in Saudi Arabia carries a 10-year jail term.

Haia police already have arrested “several people” in relation to an atheist video that went viral on social media website KiK Messenger, Arab News reported.

The video has led to calls for better education in explaining the difference between those who do not believe in God (atheists) and those who are non-religious but believe God exists.

Shoura Council member Eissa Al Ghaith said the media was driving a new wave of atheism that needed to be countered.

“Atheism is not a phenomenon in the Gulf or in Arab countries,” he was quoted as saying by Arab News.

“Atheists deny the existence of God altogether, while non-religious individuals may believe in God, but not practice everyday rituals.

“As we try to attract more people to Islam, we are finding ourselves losing Muslims who have somehow been exposed to misconceptions.

“Qur’anic verses revealed to infidels and hypocrites are taken out of context, resulting in dire intellectual clashes.

“We must spread the message of Islam through moderation and tolerance.”

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Paul 6 years ago

Ugly and unhealthy society, when mankind is deprived from freedom of thinking!

RAH 6 years ago

And do you find a society with freedom of thought to be beautiful and healthy? If so, name that country please that enjoys health and beauty (i.e. no crime, no illiterates, majority of the populace specializing in high skill jobs, etc.)

Less not be one dimensional when assessing and critisizing societies as doing that is, in itself, ugly and unhealthy as well.

Mark Renton 6 years ago

@RAH, no society will ever be totally free of problems, but if you check out any credible list of the best places to live, every single one of the top 10 will be countries that allow free speech, freedom to practice any religion (or none) and free thought generally.

Paul 6 years ago

It is even sadder to realize that there are adults who do not understand the value of freedom of thinking.
Thus the tensions between them, when they realize deviations are threatening their narrow box of mind.
We are in the XXI century and there are those who still think it is OK to control the minds of others in the name of their personal believes. Sad indeed!

Saudi Engineer 6 years ago

Ugly and unhealthy society when people try to force their beliefs on other societies. Yes, I'm talking about the West trying to force their "ideals" and "morals" on the rest of the world.