That’s a bit much, don’t you think, Saudi Arabia?

When it comes to detesting woo such as psychics like Sylvia Browne, I take a back seat to no one. But even I think beheading is a bit severe for such nonsense. Apparently, though, the religious loons who run Saudi Arabia disagree:

Amnesty International is calling on Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to stop the execution of a Lebanese man sentenced to death for “sorcery.”

In a statement released Thursday, the international rights group condemned the verdict and demanded the immediate release of Ali Hussain Sibat, former host of a popular call-in show that aired on Sheherazade, a Beirut based satellite TV channel.

According to his lawyer, Sibat, who is 48 and has five children, would predict the future on his show and give out advice to his audience.

The attorney, May El Khansa, who is in Lebanon, tells CNN her client was arrested by Saudi Arabia’s religious police (known as the Mutawa’een) and charged with sorcery while visiting the country in May 2008. Sibat was in Saudi Arabia to perform the Islamic religious pilgrimage known as Umra.


According to Arab News, an English language Saudi daily newspaper, after the most recent verdict was issued, the judges in Medina issued a statement expressing that Sibat deserved to be executed for having continually practiced black magic on his show, adding that this sentence would deter others from practicing sorcery.

Yesterday, an execution date was set for Friday.

Barbaric. That’s the only word that comes to mind to me.

How should “psychics” bet treated? Mockery, yes, absolutely!. Shutting psychics down so that they don’t defraud people, yes. Cutting their heads off over a silly superstition? What is this, the Dark Ages? Children will lose their father over a nonsensical superstition for a “crime” he apparently didn’t even commit in Saudi Arabia! I don’t know what’s more depressing, though, the barbarism of the Saudis or the approval that some Americans demonstrate. Check out the comments, for instance from someone going by the ‘nym LifeinVA:

OK, so I don’t think socerey is real and this guy should not be beheaded. HOWEVER, the Saudi’s know how to deal with their criminals. I was stationed in Saudia Arabia many years ago and watched a number of these beheadings. You see one of these and you will NEVER want to commit a crime…now that’s effective law enforcement!

I’m sure that LiveinVA went to “a number of” these beheadings out of an academic interest and not because of a fascination with blood and gore. And then there’s HobbitJeff (defiling one of my favorite sets of novels of all time with his idiocy):

Good for the Saudis. If you’re going to pretend to be able to read the future and bilk the gullible, be prepared for the consequences. Now if we could do the same for the reprehensible “psychics” here in the US.

One wonders whom else HobbitJeff would like to behead. Before we start feeling to superior to the barbaric system in Saudi Arabia that would execute someone for witchcraft, we should look at our own bloodthirsty loons.