An Apology and the Price of Apologetics


I have made an error of judgement, and for that I am sorry. I have been aware of the plight of Saudi Arabian writer and activist Raif Badawi for some time, but I have failed to treat it with due gravitas. I should have done more, and sooner.

A brief introduction: Who Is Raif Badawi?

Raif Badawi

Raif Badawi and his three children

My mistake was to assume that since I was aware of his situation, so too would be others. And so I didn’t act, safe in the ‘knowledge’ that others with more influence would be working to see the activist spared from his cruel and inhumane punishment for a non-crime. Alas, I was wrong.

Earlier this week it was brought to my attention that there has been sparse coverage of this human rights travesty. As one who gains the majority of his information from outside the traditional mainstream media I had been unaware of their silence.

A quick Google News search revealed several articles on Badawi, but restricting the search to Australia reduced the results to a mere half dozen. Half of those were blogs, one was mirrored from an overseas website, and the remaining two were from the Sydney Morning Herald (one over 6 months old reporting his sentence and the other a three sentence letter from a reader).

Why the silence?

It could be an unfair caricature, albeit containing a glimmer of truth, but for the Right you can take your pick: Is it because Saudi Arabia are political allies? Is it because of their wealth, our oil interests or our $2 billion trade partnership? Is it merely because they couldn’t care less about human rights?

To be honest, I don’t expect any better so I am not concerned. However, the Left is a different matter entirely, human rights are supposedly their domain.

So where are the left leaning humanitarians?

They are precisely where any truly progressive person that understands the topic would expect them to be.

That is, with their eyes firmly shut and their hands over their ears rocking back and forth like a madman, and muttering ‘This has nothing to do with Islam. This has nothing to do with Islam. This has nothing to do with Islam…’

This has everything to do with Islam.

Their commitment to their apologetics leaves them blind to the facts.

  • Saudi Arabia is officially an Islamic country.
  • The Qur’an is its official constitution.
  • It implements Sharia Law derived from the Qur’an and the Hadith
  • These documents (the Qur’an arguably, but the Hadith explicitly and repeatedly) determine non-crimes, such as apostasy or insulting the prophet, are worthy of death.

That’s the end of it. It requires only the most rudimentary research to confirm. Ask a Muslim. Read a book. Even Wikafuckingpedia cites chapter and verse for fuck’s sake. There is no doubt. There is no debate. We are talking about cold hard facts that must be acknowledged in order to move forward.

There is a direct causal relationship between the dictates of the Islamic faith and the human rights violations affecting Badawi, and countless others in the Muslim world, which simply cannot be ignored.

So progressives ignore his entire scenario and instead focus their efforts on other atrocities where the connection to Islam presents enough grey area for them to insert their misguided distortion of progressive ideology. They have replaced the goal of advancing society with a vague notion of accommodation. Their feeble excuses include: poverty, politics, social standing, upbringing, mental health, racism, and of course provocation (‘The West is responsible‘, right?).

Addressing Badawi’s fate in any depth would necessitate a complete reversal of their public position; the abandonment of apologetics and the recognition of fact. None of their excuses hold. Saudi Arabia is what happens when an abhorrent religious doctrine is taken seriously by those with power.

Islam is the problem, at least in this case, and dismissing it out of hand in other scenarios is folly. At best, those grey situations are complex. At worst, their excuses are just that – excuses. Excuses which camouflage the elephant and condone its behaviour.

Were they adhering to progressive principles, they would concede the facts and address the appalling doctrine of Islam and the consequential beliefs of its followers.

The Islamic faith is in desperate need of reformation and the only people capable of admitting it are conservatives.

It is a sad state of affairs when even those derided as ‘right wing bigots’ are further to the left than those supplying the derision.

Today, Badawi received a reprieve from his second scheduled public flogging on medical grounds. His wounds need to heal before the torture can continue. Meanwhile our alleged progressives continue to cower in fear and silence. If you believe that is progressivism, it is time you reconsidered.


‘I hate cancer, it doesn’t mean I hate people with cancer.’

Islam is a cancer, but this is not to denigrate Muslims. The doctrine is the problem, Muslims are merely its victims. Let’s not forget Badawi is a Muslim, as are the majority of those killed by a literal interpretation of Islamic texts. Muslims deserve our help so they can break free of their oppressive religion: to reform it, to moderate it, or to leave it behind. They need our assistance, they need our honesty and, yes, they need our criticism. They don’t need our apologetics.

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