Religious Tollerence in Saudi Arabia: A Woman received a Sentence of eight lashes for sending a text message to a wrong number

A thirty years old Saudi woman was given a sentence of eight lashes by a Saudi judge in a local court in al-Qatif for allegedly calling to the conversion to Shiism in a text message which she sent by mistake to an unknown number via Whatsapp. The text message included phone numbers, entitled the numbers of Shiites Islamic Services. These numbers were for a service that allows the callers to view the Fatwas of al-Sistani, the leading Iraqi Shiite Cleric, and another number for a service about the interpretations of dreams. The Judge’s sentence was based on the claims of the prosecution that this woman was trying to convert another Saudi lady to Shiism. The case was brought to the court by the husband of the woman who received the text message by mistake.

Saudi Arabia is notorious for feeding the flames of sectarianism and religious intolerance in the Muslim World. The Saudi government, either directly, or through encouraging private donors is responsible for financing the various Wahhabi and Salafi groups in Iraq, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, and Tunisia. Very little of such conspicuous Saudi activities are reported in the Western press.