Well, perhaps ever since that article in Salon pointing out that atheists do exist in the Saudi Arabia and are perhaps increasing in number, the government has been setting up to do a good old-fashioned fascist-style theocratic purge of the non-believers.
First there was the declaration from the government of Saudi Arabia that atheists are terrorists. Then just last week, the Saudi religious police, the ghoulish 1984-style 'Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice' (Haia) called for the arrests of atheist bloggers.
Well, now they've started their campaign of terror and human rights violations publicly for the world to see -- and I expect no nation to do anything at all meaningful to stop them. Don't expect our Office of Religious Freedom to do anything either. Afterall, it's not the religious who are lacking any freedom in this equation, but instead it has ultimate authority to do all that it pleases with those who have no religion. Something I've learned is that if you have no religion than the Office of Religious Freedom has no interest whatsoever in your freedom.
Guidance methods questioned after atheism clip surfaces
As far as I can tell, this is actually two videos. I'm uncertain about anything more since, naturally, none of the news sites I have found actually link to the videos themselves -- heresy.
The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice arrested several people for blasphemous remarks against God and Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) after a videoclip on atheism went viral on a popular social networking site.
No word on who has been arrested and what the conditions are for them. Nothing showing us what was actually posted. If anyone could get me this information (without getting arrested) I would be interested.
The rest of the article goes into a talk about how education needs to be improved to counter a recent wave of atheism due to social media. A member of the
Ministry of Forced Indoctrination & Mind Control Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia has this sage advice.
Shutting down websites that spread atheism is not the only way to address the core issue, said Al-Ghaith.
“Authorities, however, must then intervene and shut these sites down when people disseminate inflammatory and inaccurate information across Twitter and other social networking sites.”
“That said, the first step to dealing with the issue is investigating and trying to understand the perspective of atheists,” he said. “We cannot change opinions by force.”
“We should focus on equipping our youth with knowledge and understanding rather than just forcing them to memorize facts because they would not do them any good when trying to impact others.”
Naturally, the first step in understanding the perspective of atheists is to shut down all their websites, tear down their videos, round them up and throw them into jail. I suppose this is meaningful ecuemenical dialogue Saudi-style. Isn't it interesting how only the authorities in charge can have access to these ideas and not the general public. I suppose it's like toxic waste to them or kryptonite?
And they certainly do seem to be using force to try to change opinions, aren't they?
The article includes a few more interesting points.
“Atheism is not a phenomenon in the Gulf or in Arab countries,” he said. “Atheists deny the existence of God altogether, while non-religious individuals may believe in God, but not practice everyday rituals.”
Essentially, he is saying that many of these so-called atheists are really disillusioned non-practicing Muslims. Okay, whatever keeps them out of jail, I suppose. I wonder what causes this sort of turn off to religion in Saudi Arabia?
“People who have grown up with strict rules may eventually associate religion with oppression and deny its existence altogether,” he said.
Oh, you mean like having an entire religious police force that goes around banning roses on Valentines day and arresting people for expressing doubt in religion on their blogs? You mean like that sort of thing?
“Qur’anic verses revealed to infidels and hypocrites are taken out of context, resulting in dire intellectual clashes,” he added. “We must spread the message of Islam through moderation and tolerance.”
Where to begin? You can start by disbanding the religious police and releasing the arrested bloggers. No really, you go first.
I'll leave you with one of the comments on the article.
There's nothing like the irony of trying to prove atheists are wrong about the oppression of religion - by arresting them and thus proving that they absolutely correct that religion is oppressive. In other words, the misconceptions are starkly obvious - and it isn't the atheists who have the misconceptions.It would be hilarious if it weren't so twisted and sad.