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Sunday, November 20, 2005

Saudi website links to the Elder

A website (in both Arabic and English) supporting the Saudi teacher who was punished for praising Jews has gone up, with many interesting details about the case:

After the Saudi authorities captured the terrorists who perpetrated the may 11, 2003 tragic terror bombing in a residential area in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Muhammad al-Harbi made a public announcement to his school’s students praising the Saudi police and supporting anti terrorism actions waged by the Saudi government. He explained that that terror acts are against Islam and do not represent the faith nor its followers. This announcement was not received well by some of the other teachers in the school who adopted some extremist views and conservative ideologies that did not agree with Mohammed’s thoughts. They started plotting against Mohammed for his sincere efforts in spreading the message of tolerance and support for anti terror acts.

Some strange and violent things started happening to Mohammed in the school and also outside the school: one day he posted a newspaper article about anti terrorism, but Mohammed was surprised to discover that some teachers who had been witnessed by students took down this article , he found his car vandalized, and he was shot at while working in his office in the school. Then, he discovered that one of his students filed a case against him and he was charged by the following: admiration of the US and the west because he says “OK”!, adopting unreligious thoughts, teaching students about alcohol, performing magic/witch craft, and making a mockery of beard. This case was filed in a different town and Mohammed had to commute to court to meet a religious judge who told him in the first hearing that he was not fit to teach inside or outside Saudi Arabia. The judge did not give much attention to the fact that Mohammed had to teach about alcohol since this was a chapter of the government chemistry curriculum and that he was performing chemistry experiments and not which craft as this student was claiming; he also never made fun of beards and/or religion.

The teachers of this school started taking some students to camps and secretly meet with them. These students and others later showed up in court as witnesses against Mohammed. Mohammed felt that he was powerless and had no one to turn to so he contacted some Saudi journalists (their articles published in the Arabic version of this website) who immediately started writing about his case to support him and make his issue a national concern. More Saudi writers, Saudi newspapers, and some Saudi online forums began a supportive campaign for Mohammed. The renowned Saudi lawyer Abdul Rahman Al-lahim volunteered to represent Mohammed in court. Mr. Al-lahim discovered many violations made by the judge and asked to review other files but the judge refused to grant him with any access or formal representation of his client. The judge was furious that the case leaked to the media and quickly made his ruling on Nov. 12, 2005 to imprison Mohammed for three years and four months and lash him 750 lashes in front of the people to see: 50 lashes each week.

Muhammad’s lawyer is currently trying to appeal this harsh and unjust verdict. Many are still also waging a supportive campaign for Mohammed and his family (his mother and two sisters).

It is important to note that this website is made by Saudi citizens feeling for Mohammed and whole-heartedly supporting his cause for a peaceful world. Muhammad al-Harbi does not know about his website and we voluntarily dedicate this space to him, his family, and all who support him. We are praying that Mohammed's innocence will prevail and that those who falsely accused him will be punished.
[...]
He invented an instrument that produces a sound before the fall of rain. He put this machine at the school's gate to help students know if the rain was coming in order to avoid getting wet in their way home. this machine produces musical sound; so his fellow opponent teachers accused him of legalizing music, which is banned in the Wahhabi sect of Islam, and when Muhammed's case went to court, the judge accused him of using witchcraft to operate this instrument!
Another article with details at FreeMuslims.org.

I noticed this site because of a link from it to mine, which surprised me, to say the least.

The stories seem somewhat fractured and contradictory, but any reading of the articles shows that the Saudi court system and society as a whole is a joke.

UPDATE: They seem to have finally looked a little closer at my site and took down the link. So much for my new Saudi and Egyptian fans who read my blog as a result (about 20 hits.)