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Saudi Man Beheaded For “Witchcraft, Sorcery, Owning Written Talismans”

Saudi Man Beheaded For “Witchcraft, Sorcery, Owning Written Talismans”

A Saudi man found guilty of performing ‘black magic’ has been beheaded, the country’s Interior Ministry said.

Muree bin Ali bin Issa al-Asiri was convicted of “witchcraft, sorcery and owning written talismans”.  He was also said to have admitted carrying out adultery with two women, according to the official SPA news agency.

Last year, at least two people were beheaded for sorcery in Saudi Arabia: a Saudi woman, executed for committing sorcery and witchcraft in December; and a Sudanese man executed in September.

At the time, human rights groups around the world condemned the executions, and Amnesty International described the Saudi woman’s beheading as “deeply shocking and highlights the urgent need for a halt in executions in Saudi Arabia.”

And yet now there is another atrocious killing.

Mr Asiri was beheaded after his sentence was upheld by the country’s highest courts, the Saudi news agency website said.

The execution, in Najran province, comes as part of a wider crackdown on crimes of ‘sorcery’ across the country. In March this year, the country’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice announced that it was setting up a unit to “fight sorcerers and charlatans in all parts of the Kingdom”.

“The unit has been given orders to immediately arrest sorcerers and charlatans and refer them to the specialized authorities to apply God’s punishment on them and end their harmful deeds against Muslims,” according to a statement at the time from the Commission’s president, Sheikh Abdul Latif Al Shaikh.

And just how is beheading a human applying “God’s punishment”?

According to The Epoch Times, part of the problem is that the country does not have a clear legal code. Cases are heard according to Islamic religious laws, and judges often have wide ranging powers of interpretation.

“The judges think they are the interpreters of God’s word, and this is the whole problem in Saudi Arabia,” said Ibrahim al-Mugaiteeb, director of the Saudi-based Human Rights First Society, in comments to the New York Times in 2010. “We have enormous numbers of examples where the same case was judged radically differently between two judges.”

I have no idea how one proves the charge of witchcraft in Saudi Arabia, but I suspect it might be similar to 17th century England, where reports of a woman turning into a bird and flying away were sufficient evidence.

In any case, however “radically different” two judges may be, the sentence of beheading should never be an option.

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Photo Credit: Gary Denness

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118 comments

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10:55AM PDT on Sep 7, 2012

Patricia M.: Are you the latest troll on Care2? Just wonder, because yoo seem oblivious to the fact that the variety of islam in Saudiarabia is called wahabism and it's a lot contrary to what other muslims believe in. Wahabism rely mostly on medieval sources and that what any interpretor of the quran says, goes. Saidiarabia is run buy a feudal "royal" family and all the laws are interpreted by mostly uneducated representatives of wahabism.
Every time you fill up your gas tank, you support the medieval treatment of people, beheading of women, denying women any and all civil rights, etc.

8:59AM PDT on Jun 26, 2012

This just goes to show everyone how sick the royal family really is and how afraid they are of loosing their stronghold on the people!

11:12PM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

Looks like the last public execution in the US was of a black man in Kentucky (go figure) in 1936 before a crowd of as many as 20,000.

http://articles.boston.com/2011-08-14/news/29887284_1_deborah-denno-public-execution-bethea

Though public outrage over it led to public executions being totally outlawed. I think both Pam and LD B. make good points though. I doubt the US will start publicly executing people for religious reasons however much a few extremists/murderers may want to, but you never know. I do agree with LD B that we should not get too self-congratulatory.

For example, I don't think throwing people in prison for life for fairly minor petty crimes is drastically better than executing people for superstitious reasons. And that is fairly common with the "3 Strikes" and mandatory minimum sentence laws some states seem fond of. It seems to be the religious conservatives lawmakers that push hardest for those kind of laws too, and ethnic minorities happen to end up with the ridiculous prison sentences at higher rates.

A major economic collapse or something like that might allow more violent extremists to take over too.

8:10PM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

Some people are still living in Medieval times.

5:31PM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

LD B. said "American religious extremists DO execute people, as evidenced by anti-abortion activists."

Plus the religious extremists who kill or try to murder gay people.
http://www.thegaymanifesto.com/2011/01/24/christians-attempt-to-burn-georgia-man-alive-for-being-gay/
"A christian group tried to execute a rural Georgia man by burning him alive in his home over the weekend."

I don't think executing LGBT people is any better than executing "sorcerers", though I think the large majority of US Christians would of course condemn such extremes.

I don't really see people that violently extreme gaining control of the government in the US. Though, obviously, it's best to keep extremists out of office even if they don't advocate outright execution. It didn't take very long for extremists to take over Germany before WWII, it can happen surprisingly quick.

4:08PM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

Rob and Jay B.

So, you had to go clear back to a Saudi king who was born in 1920 and died in 2005 to find some kind of derogatory statement (not that I believed you for one second). The present king (Abdullah) is a progressive. Unfortunately, he has to deal with HIS version of the Christian Taliban(his are muslim). Oh well, everybody has a cross to bear...

Kings are like some of the people on this site...some are pretty cool...others...not so much...

2:45PM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

Seems to me that this was too much.....there are spirits in the world that most of us cannot control and that does not mean we are witches or warlocks.......

There should be banishment laws .... so banish them elsewhere....frankly I would not trust the govt or any govt because govts use bad volativel, lying, covert mediums who pass themselves off as good people and hurt normal people.

Sounds like the days of the Salem Witchcraft trials....and I do not condone any religion that makes people act like bigot slaves.

1:02PM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

It sounds like the Middle Ages!

11:58AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

I think the Saudis are correct! When you have people that disobey the religion, especially a capital offense, then the strong message is sent that breaking sharia will not be tolerated. This makes following Islam very persuasive. Muslims will be far less likely transgress the laws that Allah gave them.

There is no room for personal allowances. Once you let people get away with breaking God-given laws given through Muhammad, then society will fall apart, and Allah's punishment will be collectively visited upon the country who allowed such transgressions to go unpunished.

If Allah wanted it, Muslims should do it.

11:58AM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

I think the Saudis are correct! When you have people that disobey the religion, especially a capital offense, then the strong message is sent that breaking sharia will not be tolerated. This makes following Islam very persuasive. Muslims will be far less likely transgress the laws that Allah gave them.

There is no room for personal allowances. Once you let people get away with breaking God-given laws given through Muhammad, then society will fall apart, and Allah's punishment will be collectively visited upon the country who allowed such transgressions to go unpunished.

If Allah wanted it, Muslims should do it.

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Judy Molland An award-winning writer and teacher, Judy Molland is also an avid hiker, backpacker, and nature... more
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