Stephen Harper’s war against Islamic radicalism falters when the radicals are the Saudi government.
Prime Minister Stephen Harper says Canada is fighting a world war against radical Islam. A brutally flogged Saudi freedom-of-speech advocate named Raif Badawi might argue that the Conservative government is being unnecessarily selective in this campaign.
Badawi is a Saudi national sentenced by his country’s courts to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes with a cane.
His public flogging began last Friday with 50 lashes. He is due to receive 50 more every Friday for the next 19 weeks.
His wife, who fled to Canada with the couple’s three children after her husband’s arrest and now lives in Sherbrooke, Que., fears he will die from the sustained beatings. She may well be right.
Badawi’s crime, according to Amnesty International, was to set up a website aimed at encouraging religious and political debate.
That got under the skin of Saudi Arabia’s theocratic rulers, who treat any deviation from the country’s strict interpretation of religious orthodoxy as an insult to Islam.