The author, Raif Badawi, was arrested in Saudi Arabia on June 17, 2012 and held in Briman Prison, Jeddah. He was charged with the 'crimes' of co-founding the website "Saudi Arabian Liberals," and "offenses to Islamic precepts." On May 7, 2014, Badawi was sentenced by a Saudi court to 1,000 lashes of the whip, 10 years in jail and a fine of one million riyals ($270,000).
Illustration: Raif Badawi, silenced.
Coinciding with the painful terrorist September eleventh events, which killed more than three thousand innocent people, the Muslims in that stricken city are demanding to build an Islamic center containing a mosque and community center in the same area where World Trade Center collapsed over the heads of those who died that painful day.
What hurts me most as a citizen of the area which exported those terrorists (without honor[ing] them, of course), is the audacity of Muslims in New York that reaches the limits of insolence, not taking any regard of the thousands of victims who perished on that fateful day or their families.
What increases my pain is this (Islamist) chauvinist arrogance which claims that the innocent blood, which was shed by barbarian, brutal minds under the slogan 'Allahu Akbar', means nothing when compared with the act of building an Islamic mosque whose mission will be to re-spawn new terrorists and demanding even that the mosque be constructed near the same area. This is a blatant affront to the memory of American society in particular and humanity in general, none of whom accept in any way that scene of mass murder.
The question that I ask myself first as a human being and also as a citizen of that area which exported those terrorists is "what is this haughtiness to humanity?" And "What is this racial discrimination with regards to human blood?" Suppose that we put ourselves a little in the place of American citizens. Would we accept that a Christian or Jew assaults us in our own house and then build a church or synagogue in the same area of the attack? I doubt it.
We reject the building of churches in Saudi Arabia, not having been assaulted by anyone. Then what would you think if those who wanted to build a church are the same people who stormed the sanctity of our land? Was not what happened on Sept. 11 an assault on the sanctity of the land and the homeland? Of what land and what country? It is America.
Furthermore, we have not asked ourselves how it is that America allows Islamic missionaries on its territory, and how it is that we reject under all circumstances the freedom to proselytize within our Kingdom's land. We can no longer hide our heads like an ostrich and say that no one can see us or that no one cares. Whether we like it or not, we, being a part of humanity, have the same duties that others have as well as the same rights.
As others respect our differences with them, we should respect the differences that others have with us and recall the great humanitarian sense of Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz who called in his famous and great initiative for "Interfaith Dialogue". Let us all live under the roof of the human civilization.
Therefore we are not surprised why the king's "Interfaith Dialogue" initiative found such acceptance by the whole world, even until King Abdullah became an international model and example. It is only by using our minds that we can keep pace with the world that is evolving every day.
It requires courage to respect others' views, to appreciate others' beliefs and choices along with their right to believe them. Thus, we feel that we fail with regards to all Islamic, faithful and humanitarian principles when there is a group of us calling for the construction of a mosque in the same area which, to understate it, has become a heavy burden in the memory of Americans and all honest people around the world.
The United States respects the beliefs of others, their religious freedoms and the various religions' places of worship, whether they be Abrahamic or even non-Abrahamic. That fact should inspire us to respect and appreciate the feelings of the victims' families and to say with courage that a mosque should not be built at that particular site. The territory of the free land of America is wide and accepts everyone, thus they can build that mosque at a different site.
Finally, we should not hide that fact that Muslims in Saudi Arabia not only disrespect the beliefs of others, but they also charge them with infidelity to the extent that they consider anyone who is not Muslim an infidel, and, within their own narrow definitions, they consider the Non-Hanbali Muslims as apostates. So how can we be such people and yet be able to build a human civilization and normal relations with six billion humans, four and a half billion of whom do not believe in Islam.
This item was previously published in Raif Badawi's blog.