Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Saudi Police Force Fighting Witchcraft One Tweet at a Time!

Witches are pretty evil. I was one for a few years after leaving Catholicism and I know that between rubbing candles with essential oils and burning patchouli in my cauldron, I would cast spells and stuff. That's really bad. But not nearly as bad as the baby eating these days, I guess. Who's to know for sure without an objective God-standard for my morality, right?

Anyway, the Saudi Police have a special unit devoted to witch hunting, which I'm pretty sure violates human rights. Oh yeah, Saudi Arabia, never mind!

Now they've taken to the Internets and have made it their mission to censor cleanse oppress silence persecute police their own citizens who use Twitter. They might say something wrong and nobody wants another soul to fall prey to all the witches who live in the Twitter machine.

Saudi religious police hunt down Twitter ‘witchcraft’ accounts
Saudi Arabia, which has the largest number of Twitter users relative to internet users in the world, has formed a special task force to track users of the popular social media who are accused of spreading vice and witchcraft.
Well, it's a good thing the population already has so many other legals ways to express themselves, their opinions or identity - sexual, religious, political or otherwise - in this country or this might seem like a tyrannical theocratic state police taking away the last vestige of personal freedom of expression of an already repressed people. Good thing it's not come to that!

Apparently, the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice -- a name which I'm pretty sure George Orwell owns the rights to -- has become all NSA-like and are looking to stamp out the heightened interest in sorcery.
The religious public watchdog is keeping a lookout for those accounts which “are spreading vice and witchcraft” through the community, said Ahmed Al Jardan, the Commission’s spokesman, as quoted by the Saudi news network Al Arabiya. 
As I've written about before on this blog, witchcraft is taken very seriously in Saudi Arabia and is indeed a real problem not because spells actually work or anything - that would be insane - but because people are duped into paying the witches vast sums of money. 

Of course, the solution to this problem would be proper education into skeptical thought based on logic, science and reason and not religious superstition. But since that's not going to happen in Saudi Arabia, I suppose teams of witch hunters need to be made instead.
Al Arabiya quoted Saudi Arabia’s Mufti, the country’s leading Islamic cleric, as saying that social media networks like Twitter have become a “podium for spreading evil and bad ideas and exchanging accusations and lies” by many of their subscribers.  
“Many Twitter users in the kingdom are also fools who lack modesty and faith,” he said. 
Okay, that last point could actually be true! I wouldn't even limit it to within the kingdom. I think he could be onto something there.

This may be hilarious, but it has real ramifications on people's lives. Like any witch hunt mere accusations can result in grave consequences. It can also lead to people getting charged and jailed (or worse) for harmless acts of casting spells or being a Wiccan. 

Recently, a man ended up with 360 lashes and jail time for trying to pick up other men on Twitter.

What a sad situation. Sad, ridiculous and tragic. Thank you, religion.

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