Mus­ings are thoughts, the thought­ful kind. For the pur­pose of these ar­ti­cles, a-mus­ings are thoughts that might amuse, en­ter­tain and even en­lighten.

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - By Michael Walker

In light of the ter­ror at­tack in Manch­ester, Eng­land on Mon­day 22nd May, we thought it fit­ting to re­pub­lish this sub­mis­sion by STAR colum­nist Michael Walker, which first ap­peared in the STAR on June 20, 2015.

Iam sick and tired of peo­ple who claim with great pi­ety that Islam is a re­li­gion of peace and love, and that the ter­ror­ists who kill peo­ple on a daily ba­sis through­out the world are aber­ra­tions, dif­fer­ent from the norm. Mus­lims should, at the very least, clean their own house and rid the world of the swine that kill and maim thou­sands each year in the name of Islam.

But it's not only the ter­ror­ists that cause me con­cern. Our gov­ern­ment, along with just about all gov­ern­ments world­wide, plays toady to the oil-rich Is­lamic na­tions that show lit­tle or no re­spect for life in gen­eral and hu­man life in par­tic­u­lar.

Take, for ex­am­ple, Saudi Ara­bia. Re­cently, Saudi Ara­bia's Supreme Court up­held a sen­tence of 10 years im­pris­on­ment and 1,000 lashes for In­ter­net blog­ger Raif Badawi. Badawi who has been im­pris­oned since 2012, was charged with vi­o­lat­ing Saudi Ara­bia's in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy law and in­sult­ing Islam through his web­site "Saudi Ara­bian Lib­er­als."

The court de­creed that lash­ings are to be car­ried out 50 lashes at a time, 20 weeks in a row un­til the pun­ish­ment is com­plete. Badawi en­dured the first 50 of the 1,000 lashes sto­ically, arch­ing his back in pain. The flog­ging pro­voked an out­cry from hu­man rights groups and U.S. of­fi­cials – to no avail.

"Pub­licly lash­ing a peace­ful ac­tivist merely for ex­press­ing his ideas sends an ugly mes­sage of in­tol­er­ance," Hu­man Rights Watch said at the time.

Said Boume­douha, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional's deputy di­rec­tor for the Mid­dle East, called for Badawi's im­me­di­ate re­lease. "Raif Badawi is a pris­oner of con­science; his only 'crime' was to ex­er­cise his right to free­dom of ex­pres­sion by set­ting up a web­site for pub­lic dis­cus­sion," Boume­douha said in a state­ment.

Raef Badawi was flogged in pub­lic near a mosque in the Red Sea city of Jed­dah, re­ceiv­ing 50 lashes for in­sult­ing Islam. Wit­nesses said that Badawi, 30, was flogged af­ter the weekly Fri­day prayers near Al-Jafali mosque as a crowd of wor­ship­pers looked on. Badawi was driven to the site in a po­lice car, and taken out of the ve­hi­cle as a gov­ern­ment em­ployee read out to the crowd the charges against him. The blog­ger was made to stand with his back to on­look­ers as an­other man be­gan flog­ging him, wit­nesses said, adding that Badawi did not make any sound or cry in pain. The faith­ful who had emerged from noon prayers watched in si­lence and were or­dered by security forces not to take any pic­tures on their mo­bile phones.

Me­dia watch­dog ‘Re­porters With­out Bor­ders' said the pun­ish­ment was bar­baric and noted its tim­ing af­ter Saudi Ara­bia con­demned the deadly at­tack on French mag­a­zine Char­lie Hebdo. U.S. of­fi­cials have called on Saudi of­fi­cials to with­draw the sen­tence and re­view Badawi's case.

Amnesty re­ported that eight days af­ter the ini­tial flog­ging, doc­tors de­ter­mined that Badawi had not healed suf­fi­ciently to be flogged for the sec­ond time. The lashes have been post­poned at least three times.

A med­i­cal com­mit­tee of around eight doc­tors who car­ried out a se­ries of tests on Raif at a Jed­dah hos­pi­tal found that wounds sus­tained from the 50 lashes dealt to him by Saudi of­fi­cials nearly a fort­night be­fore hadn't healed enough for him to be lashed again with­out se­ri­ous risk to his health.

But are we any bet­ter? Just re­cently a poor St Lu­cian suc­cumbed to temp­ta­tion and stole a vegetable worth about EC$40 and was given the choice of pay­ing a fine of EC$5,000 or go­ing to jail for quite a while. He ended up in jail. Now, I'm no ex­pert in these things but I am pretty sure that JC what's-his­name would have told the man to keep the vegetable, go his way and sin no more.

But what do I know? Noth­ing. This A-Mus­ing could well be my last. I just don't get this re­li­gious thing at all!

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