A Princeton University professor and a prominent Muslim American figure, as well as five other religious freedom advocates, are offering to take 100 lashes each for imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi who was sentenced by Saudi Arabia to 1,000 lashes for insulting his country’s clerics.
In a letter to the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S., Robert P. George, a Princeton professor and vice chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, urged the immediate release of Badawi.
The Saudi blogger was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes after criticizing the country’s powerful clerics on his blog. Badawi received the first of 20 weekly floggings almost two weeks ago. The second flogging, which was scheduled for last Friday, was postponed on medical grounds.
In other words, the Saudis had flayed his flesh so badly with the first 50 lashes that Badawi was medically unable to receive the second set of 50 — still leaving 950 lashes to go.
If you’ve ever gone to LiveLeak or similar sites which host atrocity videos from the Middle East, you know these lashings are the real deal. When Badawi was sentenced, I wondered if it was possible for a human being to survive 20 sets of 50 lashes, delivered weekly. The Saudi authorities are apparently having the same doubts, which makes the bravery displayed by George and Jasser and those five others even more remarkable.