It is hard to look at the picture with this story published yesterday on Al Arabiya News: a five-year-old Saudi Arabian girl struggling to get her last breaths in a hospital in Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh. She was reportedly tortured to the extreme by no one else than her own father. Laama died of the wounds, with broken arms and a fractured skull; her father murdered her.
Busting the myth of a crime-free Saudi Arabia, the news tells that Lamaa was taken by her father, whose name has not been disclosed but is said to be a well-known religious preacher, from her mother whom he divorced recently. When the mother received a call two weeks later from a public prosecutor in another city, she was asked to go see her daughter at a hospital. There, her daughter breathed her last breath while the mother stood in shock, asking the man why he tortured her. The news report says the man only answered with a chuckle.
This kid of brutality is not new to either Saudi Arabia or any other Muslim preachers around the world. In mask of teaching God’s word, these human forms of the worst devil enjoy immunity from public outcry because of their profession. In this case, for example, neither the mother nor the hospital staff revealed the name of the barbarian preacher to media despite the fact that he admitted torturing her, according to the news post. Even in the update on the story, the name of the accused has been kept from disclosing to the public. But does this silence serve some larger purpose?
Apparently, it does. The profession of preaching Islam, or any religion for its respective followers, has been held in such high reverence that most parents sending their children to religious teachers don’t mind if the preacher disciplines the kids far beyond a light punishment. Clerics breaking children’s bones and even killing and raping them have been reported so widely in media, despite all the secrecy, that it feels like risky business sending one’s kid to learn Arabic or Islamic teachings from a cleric particularly at his place (usually a seminary). The secrecy is meant to protect the name and reverence of this profession even when it means a high risk to a child’s safety, or even their lives.
To protect the crimes, Saudi clergy works as a big team. Just the other day, the chief Saudi cleric, i.e. Grand Mufti, declared that talking to foreign media is haram (prohibited in Islam). Knowing that foreign media unveils the culprits and violators of humanity, while the domestic news sources are under government and clergy influence, this sounds like the kind of religion that has been tailored according to fundamental, self-serving Saudi needs. Though the chief cleric thinks talking to foreign media equals treason and major crime, believers in freedom from oppression would likely agree that blurting out such openly self-serving, pro-abuse versions of Islam is a joke unique to dictatorial regimes. And Saudi Arabia does rank among the top few of this kind.