Morally speaking, is Saudi Arabia any better than the Islamic State? The Islamic State is our enemy, and deservedly so. They use Islam as justification for violence. The violence is meant to silence their critics, and to intimidate the masses. Saudi Arabia is our ally. They are set to execute 14 men for attending a pro-democracy rally. The youngest of the group, Mujtaba’a al-Sweikat, was only 17 when he was arrested at an airport in his homeland, on his way to study at Western Michigan University. He never got there. Instead, he was tried and sentenced to death for attending a rally. He is set to be executed for exercising political speech. What is the difference between ISIS and Saudi Arabia? Why are we allied with one and against the other? Do they not represent the same form of evil?
This is outrageous. Saudi Arabia, an economic ally of the United States, is prepared to execute 14 men for the crime of what we in America would think of as a simple exercise of free speech. Five years ago, they were convicted for attending a pro-democracy protest. Another man on Saudi death row was convicted of inviting people to the protest, and administering first aid to demonstrators at the event. (This story does not make clear why demonstrators needed first aid. In all likelihood, Saudi police were involved.) These men were convicted of simply exercising the freedoms of thought, speech, and to organize. Saudi Arabia is an ally of the United States, but they do not share our values. We support freedom of religion and the separation of church and state. Saudi Arabia uses Islam to brutally control the masses within their domain. They are in many ways, the antithesis of America. Their government is founded on an irrational set of beliefs. It stands for immoral positions.
Enough is enough! As an American, I am compelled to oppose the execution of all political prisoners in Saudi Arabia. Anyone who supports democracy is our friend. Anyone who opposes democracy is our enemy. Saudi Arabia must make a choice. These men facing execution are allies to our values. The Saudi Government wants them dead. We cannot allow this to happen. If they want to be our partners, they must embrace our values. If they cannot embrace human rights, the people of the United States should demand that our government force the Saudis to stop. As nations, we should either go our separate ways, our we should work to separate Islam from government within Saudi Arabia.
To stop these executions, please reach out to your congressmen and congresswomen. Please call or write the White House. Demand that the United States Government take a firm an unequivocal stand against Saudi human rights abuses.
The UK based legal charity, Reprieve, is spearheading the fight for the lives of these 14 men.
Today, especially, I stand with the LGBT community. It is time to end all forms of bigotry. Violence has no place in our society.