Why should we defend ‘hypocritical’ Saudi clerics?

A recording of a preacher dating a young girl and engaging in an obscene conversation with her spread in the media recently. In the recording, the girl was luring him to Makkah to meet with her. The story may have ended there - at this limit of a human mistake. However, it got worse when the preacher's lawyer - who is no less obscene than the preacher himself - said that what happened with his client was a conspiracy against religious men. He also said that the a group of liberals in Saudi Arabia is behind this conspiracy and threatened that he will release lewd photos and recordings of these liberals. For him, this is the solution as he apparently objects to defamation by counter defamation.

I don't understand why some people rise to defend moral crimes just because the preacher is a known public figure. This is what they did when a famous preacher plagiarized the book of a female Saudi writer. As far as they knew, this writer isn't one of their liberal enemies but is a supporter of this preacher (who plagiarized her work) and she has given him her book to to hear his feedback After the information ministry's ruling, it turned out that about 90 percent of his book was plagiarized from her book. I also don't understand how some people once defended a judge who in a famous case took bribes worth millions and then claimed he was possessed by a demon who ordered him to accept the bribe - so the demon was criminalized and the judge was exonerated! I also don't understand how, although people hear the truth with their own ears, they still believe a preacher who committed an obscene act when the same preacher says that liberals who defend women's rights are encouraging women to commit immoral acts.

Who is really being insubordinate?

This preacher's lawyer is now threatening to scandalize liberals and publish photos of them practicing obscene acts. The capable lawyer did not just make threats but he also warned that anyone who condemns his client's act is an enemy of religion. He also said that those who criticized his client have disobeyed their superior, adding that anyone who does so would be disobeying God and his prophet. I don't see how such statements harmonize with their frequent campaigns. Only a few days ago, they criticized assigning women in the Shura Council for the tenth time! They continue to criticize this although this was the decision of the superior - King Abdullah. The king has announced that he made this decision after consulting with a group from the Council of Senior Scholars. So wouldn't criticizing the decision be considered as disobedience of the superior?

I don't understand why some people rise to defend moral crimes just because the preacher is a known public figure

Badria al-Bishr

What about when they stood in groups in front of the royal court to protest the king's scholarship program? Isn't this disobedience of the superior, dear lawyer? Or when they went to the minister of labor, harassed him and threatened that they will pray for God to inflict him with cancer if he implements the decision allowing women to work as saleswomen in shops. Isn't this disobedience of the superior? What about when they raided the annual book fair and attacked and defamed the information minister and terrorized the publishing houses? Wasn't this disobedience of the superior? Or when they attacked the Janadriya Festival? Wasn't this disobedience of the superior?

And the list goes on and on. But nothing is equal to their suspicious silence regarding al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. They simply view these groups as having been led astray, ones which we should pray for to find the right path. Meanwhile, according to them, liberals must be burnt and decapitated.

This article was first published in al-Hayat on May 21, 2014.


Dr. Badria al-Bishr is a multi-award-winning Saudi columnist and novelist. A PhD graduate from the American University of Beirut, and an alumnus of the U.S. State Department International Visitor program. Her columns put emphasis on women and social issues in Saudi Arabia. She currently lectures at King Saud University's Department of Social Studies.


Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:43 - GMT 06:43
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