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Support Raef Badawi!

I thought people might like to sign this petition in support of Raef Badawi, a liberal Saudi blogger who faces the death penalty for apostasy.

We demand that Saudi Arabia free and safeguard Raef Badawy and stop threatening people merely for expressing nonorthodox views on Islam or religion in general, because without freedom of speech, one can not counter the dangerous beliefs of extremist Islam that leads ultimately to terrorism and threatens the safety of all people around the world.

In the piece I just posted on Haddad, I noted that Muslims had a wide range of views on punishments for apostasy.  And it’s interesting to see how many – the overwhelming majority in fact – of the signatories are (or would seem to be) Muslims. There are voices from Tunisia, the West Bank, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Morocco, Qatar, Algeria, Sudan and Egypt, as well as Muslims from Canada, the US and the UK.

Lucian, a Canadian, writes:

As a Muslim I am disgusted by the persecution of others merely for expressing a different opinion on their faith than the majority currently hold.

Maher from the US asserts that he supports Raef:

Because there is no such law in Islam! Apostasy will be only be punished by God and not humans

Tarek from Dubai is in agreement, and signs because he thinks that:

Saudi Arabia is humiliating Islam by taking such actions that are not related to our religion by all means. And because human beings should have the freedom of thinking and expressing there ideas.

I liked this comment from Abed, who lives in East Jerusalem:

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it” voltaire

Finally, Ahmed from the Sudan states simply that he supports the petition ‘because I am a human being’.

Gene adds: Al-Akhbar reports:

Saudi religious police stormed a house in the Saudi Arabian province of al-Jouf, detaining more than 41 guests for “plotting to celebrate Christmas,” a statement from the police branch released Wednesday night said.

The raid is the latest in a string of religious crackdowns against residents perceived to threaten the country’s strict religious code.

The host of the alleged Christmas gathering is reported to be an Asian diplomat whose guests included 41 Christians, as well as two Saudi Arabian and Egyptian Muslims. The host and the two Muslims were said to be “severely intoxicated.”