This Can’t Be a Good Sign for Raif Badawi

We’ve had some faintly positive signals that perhaps international pressure was having some effect on the Saudi government over their treatment of Raif Badawi, but this can’t be good news. Austria is threatening to cancel a building project for a Saudi cultural center over it:

Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann has expressed public outrage over the refusal of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue to speak out against the flogging of Raif Badawi, a Saudi human rights activist and blogger who has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for “insulting Islam.”

“Saudi Arabia practices a form of Sharia law that is one of the most brutal systems in the world… Does the Austrian Foreign Ministry really want to give such a state the opportunity to build an international propaganda center in Austria?” — Editorial, Die Presse.

“An inter-religious dialogue center that remains silent when it is time to speak out clearly for human rights is not worthy of being called a dialogue center. It is a silence center.” — Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann.

“If the center wants to remain only an economic center with a religious fig leaf, then Austria should no longer be a part of it. In any event, Austria will not allow itself to be threatened or blackmailed.” — Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann.

And Saudi Arabia is threatening them right back:

Saudi Arabia has responded to the threat by issuing a counter-threat to move the permanent headquarters of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries [OPEC] out of the Austrian capital of Vienna.

The dust-up began in mid-January, when Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann expressed public outrage over the refusal of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for Interreligious and Intercultural Dialogue [KAICIID] to speak out against the flogging of Raif Badawi, a Saudi human rights activist and blogger who has been sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for “insulting Islam.”

Perhaps this is all just public posturing by the Saudi government. I sure hope so.

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  • http://en.uncyclopedia.co/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Pity. The cultural center was looking amazing, with a beautiful central area, one off to the side for the women, and a ball pool and beheading area for the kids.

  • http://www.ranum.com Marcus Ranum

    Perhaps this is all just public posturing by the Saudi government. I sure hope so.

    I doubt it. USAians really don’t understand “honor” cultures and Saudi is particularly intractible because they’ve basically gotten carte blanche for anything they want to do (as long as it doesn’t annoy Israel) for 40+ years.

  • grumpyoldfart

    When politicians start saving face you can be sure the hoi poloi are going to cop it.