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Saudi court sentences 75-year Old Woman To 40 Lashes

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(sigh) Here we go again ...

CAIRO – A 75-year-old widow in Saudi Arabia has been sentenced to 40 lashes and four months in jail for mingling with two young men who are not close relatives, drawing new criticism for the kingdom's ultraconservative religious police and judiciary.

The woman's lawyer told The Associated Press on Monday that he would appeal the verdict against Khamisa Sawadi, who is Syrian but was married to a Saudi. The attorney, Abdel Rahman al-Lahem, said the verdict issued March 3 also demands that Sawadi be deported after serving her sentence.

The newspaper Al-Watan said the woman met with the two 24-year-old men last April after she asked them to bring her five loaves of bread at her home in al-Chamil, a city north of the capital, Riyadh.

Al-Watan identified one man as Fahd al-Anzi, the nephew of Sawadi's late husband, and the other as his friend and business partner Hadiyan bin Zein. It said they were arrested by the religious police after delivering the bread. The men also were convicted and sentenced to lashes and prison.

Saudi Arabia's strict interpretation of Islam prohibits men and women who are not immediate relatives from mingling. It also bars women from driving, and the playing of music, dancing and many movies also are a concern for hard-liners who believe they violate religious and moral values.

Complaints from Saudis have been growing that the religious police and courts are overstepping their broad mandate and interfering in people's lives, and critics lambasted the handling of Sawadi's case.

"How can a verdict be issued based on suspicion?" Laila Ahmed al-Ahdab, a physician who also is a columnist for Al-Watan, wrote Monday. "A group of people are misusing religion to serve their own interests."

Sawadi told the court she considered al-Anzi as her son, because she breast-fed him when he was a baby. But the court denied her claim, saying she didn't provide evidence. In Islamic tradition, breast-feeding establishes a degree of maternal relation, even if a woman nurses a child who is not biologically hers.

"A group of people are misusing religion to serve their own interests."

I believe Jesus said basically the same thing once or twice and we know how he ended up. The truth in that phrase seems to be endlessly played out. It is the nature of lust for power. Especially in the name of being "righteous."

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That reminds of a place I visited in Kentucky. It had been a settlement of some weird religion. The religion was actually pretty cool, apart from the fact that men and women weren't allowed any contact. They just gained members by adopting orphans. Needless to say, the religion died out.


Those were The Shakers. They were renown for that strange rule of no contact as well as their outstanding carpentry ("woodwork"? Hahah). They were called "Shakers" because they danced/shook to get rid of the tension they had. The Shaker cult is nothing at all like what those saudi pigs practice. I don't believe in reicarnation and hell, but if there is such a thing as a hell, then it would be to be reborn as a woman in a islamic country.

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