Saudi’s To Behead Lebanese Infidel Witch

46 year old Mr Sibat, a married man and father of five children, made the mistake of not knowing enough about Saudi Arabia’s past and present. Underestimating how much the religious authorties are stuck in previous centuries, he ventured to the Land of the Two Holy Places on a pilgrimage – the ‘umra’.

It’s believed that while there, the religious police, the ‘Mutawa’een’ recognised Mr Sibat from the TV show and arrested him. His lawyers say the police asked him to write down what he did for a living and assured him that if he did so he would be free to go back to Lebanon. Instead he was taken to court where, in a closed session, his statement was used against him as a confession. He was sentenced to death in Medina on November the 9th last year and the sentence was upheld on March the 10th.

The judges, in their wisdom, said that he deserved to be killed because the proof that he practiced sorcery was obvious to the millions of people who had seen his programmes, and that his actions made him ‘an infidel’. They went on to say that the death sentence would act as a deterence to the increasing number of ‘foreign magicians’ entering the Kingdom.

What lies behind this sentence appears to be the nagging fear in the clerics that, beneath the solid foundations of Islam, there still exists in the region widespread superstitions which pre-date their faith.

In Europe, Christianity superimposed various beliefs on top of existing cultural norms and Europeans still engage in practices which are against the teaching of the Church. They did so even when the Church had a much tighter grip on society. It is no co-incidence that Christmas is celebrated in the deep midwinter and Easter in the spring. After all those months of cold and darkness the Europeans needed a reason to celebrate and the Christians were smart enough to keep the party, but give it a different name. The dates for the major Christian festivals are more to do with pagan beliefs than historical accuracy about the birth and death of Jesus. In a similar manner millions of Muslims cling on to pre Islamic beliefs including fortune telling and horsoscopes.

Thus Mr Sibat, perhaps unwittingly, offered a challenge to the very basis of Saudi Arabia and therefore it appears he must be killed.

Amnesty International (of which this writer is a member) has urged the Lebanese government to intervene, arguing that Mr Sibat ‘appears to have been convicted solely for the peaceful exercise of his right to freedom of expression,”

That is true if you are in the 21st century, but false if you still believe in witchcraft and believe it offers a threat to a power structure which places you at the top. The court decision is both obvious and astonishing. Obvious for the reasons stated, astonishing in that a Lebanese man can be killed by the Saudi state for hosting a Lebanese TV show.

The clerics would like to kill satellite television, they are settling, this time, for killing someone for appearing on
satellite television.

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