Posts Tagged ‘Saudi Arabia’

‘5 Religious Organizations’ Updates

August 15, 2011

Last winter I wrote an article about five religious organizations you should hate. And since The BEAST is the one and only True News Source (peace ‘n blessings be upon Us), you may have missed some new developments for those groups. So here they are! But (spoiler alert) you should know that none of these updates should make any decent person stop hating them.

LOL WARREN JEFFS

Jeffs, seen here with one of his “child brides.”

In the section on the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS), I referred to the “prophet” Warren Jeffs’s 10 years-to-life sentence for being an accomplice to rape. That sentence has since been overturned by the Utah Supreme Court on the grounds that the jury were given faulty instructions.

So his conviction was overturned on a technicality. That’s the bad news. The good news for those of us in the popular anti-child-fucking demographic is that there are plenty of other child-rape charges against Jeffs to go through, and the courts in Texas are dealing with that as I’m writing this. This past week he was found guilty on two charges of sexual assault against 12 and 15 year old girls. The sentencing phase is curently underway.

This most recent trial contained 100% of the FDA’s recommended annual allowance of WTF. In classic megalomaniac-on-trial fashion, Jeffs first fired his expensive, high-powered attorneys and opted to represent himself with the help of “God’s word.” Then he started interrupting the judge and threatening the court with “sickness and death” unless they would “cease this prosecution against my pure and holy way.” Jeffs claimed it wasn’t him saying this though. It was all just a message from Jesus, presumably so he wouldn’t have to take any responsibility for it.

Later the court heard audio clips of Jeffs explaining to a 14 year old girl how best to be raped by him, and then another audio file of the actual rape itself. Here is one of the files used in court where Jeffs explains the system of arranged “marriage” and child rape to a young girl. Jeffs never learned from Nixon to stop recording audio when you’re doing incredibly evil, illegal shit.

The prosecution also showed pictures of the beds Jeffs allegedly used to rape kids and had a former FLDS member testify on the system of arranged marriages within the cult. The witness testifying was actually one of Jeffs’s step-mothers (Warren’s father, Rulon, also held the same position in the church before he died in 2002). FLDS is very meticulous on book-keeping because they want to have records which match the records kept in heaven. The court gave Jeffs 30 minutes for a closing statement. He used all of it, mostly just to stand there in silence, but he reportedly said, “I am peace” at one time.

It is a good thing he reminded the court that he’s peace because he was immediately afterwards found not guilty. No, just kidding, he was found guilty on 2 counts of sexual assault. The sentencing phase is now underway, and Jeffs faces up to life in prison. [UPDATE: He got life in prison, LOL]

Lord’s Resistance Amy

Thomas Kwoyelo, a former senior commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army, is on trial in Gulu, which is in northern Uganda. He has 65 charges against him which apparently took almost two hours to read out. They’re all from the deplorable crimes committed by the LRA, which I wrote about in the original article.

One way in which Kwoyelo’s trial has been awesome came from when the convoy dropped him off for his trial. There was also a marching band (via) there. If only Warren Jeffs had thought to bring along the FLDS marching band.

Kwoyelo is the first defendant out of hopefully many others in a move by the Ugandan government to bring the LRA to justice. Kwoyelo had applied for amnesty under the controversial Ugandan Amnesty Act, but his application is still pending. There is apparently a lot of double-standards in how the Ugandan government has been prosecuting, or trying to prosecute, LRA members and how their judicial proceedings have related to international law and the International Criminal Court.

Aside from the amnesty controversy, Kwoyelo’s attorneys plan their defense to be that charges which are breaches of the Geneva Convention have not been formally filed, and that the proseuction had not yet fully disclosed their files on Kwoyelo – at least, not at the time of the Human Rights Watch report cited above. Both of these issues may have been resolved by now, but I can’t find any more recent update since the second hearing, which was supposed to be July 25.

The UN Security Council has released a statement harshly condemning the LRA’s violence across not only in Uganda, but also in the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. This is probably a positive development because the Ugandan government has a credibility problem in dealing with the LRA. They’ve granted amnesty to combatants who were higher in rank than Kwoyelo. Some spectators of the trial are suspicious of the government’s motives. They think that the trial is a PR move for the government to show off the efficacy of its new International Crimes Division. Even one mutilated LRA victim interviewed by a reporter said that the government should be concentrating on helping the war-torn regions of northern Uganda and that the trial will not do that.

The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice

“We wear the table cloths from Italian restaurants on our fucking heads.”

If you’ve made it this far, you might have expected that these updates are all going to be uplifting stories of assholes being brought to justice. Well, Saudi Arabia. That’s probably all I’ve got to say about those expectations.

The Saudi Arabian government’s reaction to the Arab Spring uprisings thruoghout the Middle East and beyond have been pretty much exactly what you’d expect. Back in March when it looked like Saudi Arabia might be the next country to really shake things up politically, the foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal said that his family would “cut off any finger raised” against them. There were some protests afterwards, and things appear to have fizzled out since. So much for the hope of getting rid of one of the worst governments on the planet.

And my friends in the Religious Police have been adopting a similar ‘fuck you’ attitude towards the population it’s supposed to serve and protect. Only in their case, most of what they get involved in has this element of total goofiness in it because they’re so obsessed with these absurd superstitions.

One thing that’s awesome about the Religious Police is that they have an Anti-Witchcraft Unit. Wait, no, not awesome, I meant “pitiful and sad.” Last month the Anti-Witchcraft Unit received word that someone had found a decapitated wolf’s head wrapped up in women’s lingerie . If you’re a normal person, you might hear about that and think it’s the inevitable product of pent-up psycho-sexual frustration resulting from such a stifling and oppressive society. Sure, whoever did it is sick and needs help, but when you set up a society like Saudi Arabia, you’re kind of asking for a higher proportion of people who are not quite right in the head.

You’ll be surprised to learn that that is not at all how the Religious Police saw the matter! They immediately identified it as some sort of witchcraft, kind of like how they do with everything that’s not Wahhabi. Would they be able to break the spell? It turns out they did! Which should be pretty easy when the whole thing’s made up to begin with.

Speaking of women’s lingerie, there is also some conflict between the Kingdom and their Religious Police. The Kingdom is replacing all of the male salesmen at lingerie shops with women in order to reduce female unemployment, and the Religious Police and their advocates are pretty upset about that. They would like the lingerie shops to set up dividers to make sure men buying lingerie for one or several of their wives aren’t intermingling with the women working there.

And lastly, in surprisingly non-lingerie related Saudi news, a man going on a picnic with some friends was possessed by ghosts! At least, that’s what his friends said. And since they said so, that proves it’s true, so the Religious Police read the Koran at him and burned some incense. Somehow, this forced the ghost to leave the man’s body via his hand.

That is all for now.

5 Religious Organizations You Should Hate

January 21, 2011

It’s a list. You love lists.

A common response to criticisms of religion is that its adherents can sometimes do good things, even if it’s for irrational reasons. That’s fair enough, but at the same time it’s useful to remember that while some good can be mixed in with the bad, sometimes religions create institutions of pure evil. Here are a few of them: (more…)

Evil genie possesses young adult, father forced to lock him in basement for six years

July 26, 2010

The only news source I can find on this story is the notoriously awful Daily Fail so this should be taken with a grain of salt, I guess. From the Daily Mail:

A Saudi man has been chained in a basement apartment for more than six years because his father believes he is possessed by an evil female genie.

The victim here is referred to as Turki, and he’s 29. His father – who’s unnamed in the article for some bizarre reason – claims that he went into convulsions where his eyes went completely white. It sounds like he was having some kind of a seizure and his eyes rolled back.

At first his father took him to a mosque so that some clerics could read the Koran at him. Then Turki started speaking in a female voice, telling him that he was a Jinn and that the only way to exorcise him was to kill Turki. The clerics had a better idea: chain Turki up in the basement and continue reading the Koran at him. And that’s what his father did.

It’s funny how these specific kinds of demonic possessions only seem to happen where the culture is already immersed in stories about them. Why don’t Jinns ever seem to possess Canadians or Norwegians? You would think that this might give pause to people like this unfortunate guy’s father, or even the clerics. The Daily Fail even accidentally offers some further insight on this issue:

Turki’s father claimed he himself was afflicted by a jinn at the age of nine and suffered for more than four decades until it was exorcised by a cleric.
‘I used to see a woman who would at times appear very beautiful and at times extremely ugly,’ he said.

It sounds a lot like those people who would say that they had been abducted by UFOs and then years later the aliens would come back for their children. But those alleged abductions seem to be more of an American phenomenon. It never seems to happen in Saudi Arabia. There you get Jinn possessions instead. And we never seem to get Jinn possessions here in America.

Again, that should give pause to the people making these claims. They should explore the possibility that all of the various mythical interpretations are wrong, and that the victims here are experiencing some kind of natural, earthly phenomenon. And the best way to explore those kinds of problems is with a medical doctor and not ignorant peddlers of superstition.

TV personality on death row in Saudi Arabia for “witchcraft”

November 29, 2009

So before Saudi media outlets were just complaining about witchcraft (in this post, I mentioned the Hajj “stoning the devil” ritual that usually results in collapsing structures, killing gullible pilgrims. This year, flooding killed 83. Allah didn’t stop the flooding for some reason. Just a quick update.), now they’re doing something about it. Well, the courts are anyway.

The Lebanese TV presenter Ali Sibat was on a trip to Saudi Arabia when he was arrested for “witchcraft.” This apparently involves making predictions on his show.

Here is video of his trial:

So let’s see, there’s no real evidence against him, he’s not even Saudi Arabian, and he’s being put to death for being annoying on television. Can’t Oprah go on vacation in Saudi Arabia?

UPDATE: Stay of execution!

Sorcery in Saudi Arabia

September 14, 2009

There’s this article in Arab News (“The Middle East’s Leading English Language Daily”) which just absolutely reeks of doublethink and the kind of problems one gets into when accepting one form of woo over another, which I wrote about earlier this month. Here’s the lede:

Hardly a day passes without a local newspaper reporting the arrest of a sorcerer in the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia], something that is indicative of the widespread meddling in sorcery.

Maybe that is what it is what it is indicative of. But the author here overlooks the possibility that it’s also indicative of the insanity that results from witch hunts. Those arrested for this “crime” aren’t always even guilty of breaking this insane law. It’s just an accusation which is not amenable to any kind of testing, so it becomes a rationalization for imprisoning or even killing whoever the accuser doesn’t happen to like.

And of course they overlook the possibility that the arrests are indicative of the government arresting people for having different religious beliefs from that of the majority. Even if those arrested were “guilty” of the “crime” of which they were accused, so what? The article goes on to portray the “sorcerers” almost in a realistic way – that they’re hucksters shamming the gullible, but if that were really the problem, then there would be no need to limit the law to certain religious practices. So they have to condemn these people on entirely different grounds:

People underestimate how serious a sin magic actually is.

They don’t go into detail on how exactly the editorial board of Arab News objectively identifies the varying degrees of “sin” or anything like that. It’s just a “sin.” A very serious one. SRSLY?

Here’s some context, from just before and after the above quote:

“That was four years ago. I now only seek Allah’s help,” she said… Abeer Saleh said some members of her family are so infatuated with magic that they act strange and perform nonsensensical rituals.”

If they have some kind of reason for preferring Allah-based magic over tribal mysticism-based magic, it’s not made apparent. Just that one is a “serious sin” and the other is not. And how could these people deride acting strangely and performing nonsensical rituals without collapsing from the cognitive dissonance? Here is a good example of a nonsensical ritual.

LOL WUT?

LOL WUT?

What happens is that pilgrims on their Hajj thing go to this holy city and throw stones at three pillars which somehow represent Satan. They stampeded toward the pillars, and in 2004 and then in 2006 this led to a structural collapse which killed hundreds of people. Is that acting strange? Is that a nonsensical ritual? How could it possibly not be any stranger than writing names down on a piece of paper and then putting the paper in a bottle – or eating a cracker which is supposed to be the flesh of a man-god who died 2000 years ago, for that matter?

It’s not. The only way advocates of faith-based positions can criticize other faith-based positions is by creating some completely vacuous and meaningless concept like “sin” and arbitrarily attributing it to anything they don’t happen to like.


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