Death Sentences of Poets and Politicians

There’s a lot of unmerited anti-Muslim sentiment floating around the media these days due to Islamic extremist violence after the recent attacks in Paris but few talk about the one big source of this extremism, namely Saudi Arabia. Our largest Arab and 12th largest trading partner recently sentenced to death the Palestinian poet and artist Ashraf Fayadh for abandoning the Muslim faith. In addition to repressing women and dissent, beheading more people than ISIS, and funding and spreading Wahhabism (the extremist form of orthodox Sunni Islam linked to groups like ISIS and Al-Queda), do we need any more proof how despicable the government of Saudi Arabia is? We won’t even mention that 15 of 19 hijackers of the September 11th attack were Saudi – oops just did. However, in spite of all these factors our leaders continue to literally hold hands with these Royal Assholes. Why? How can spreading a radical religion and executing an artist for failing such rigors be a standard we support? Fayadh was first arrested January 1, 2014 when he was accused of promoting atheism in his 2008 book of poems ‘Instruction Within’, then sentenced this past Tuesday, November 17 after spending two years in prison. According to The Guardian, he curated art shows during 2013 in Jeddah and at the Venice Biennial. Saudi Arabia needs to modernize quickly and join the 21st century – and our leaders need to distance our country and culture from them until there is visible progress and they abolish barbaric acts like this. Writing poetry cannot be tolerated as a reason for the death sentence of any human being anywhere on earth – and our country cannot continue to support regimes that do.

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