Sup­port­ing Saudis could be Cameron’s fu­neral


Midweek Sport - - NEWS -

WITH “friends” like these, who needs en­e­mies?

Last week flags across Bri­tain were low­ered to half-mast for a dead king in a far-flung for­eign land.

So im­por­tant was this for­mer ruler across the oceans that the Prime Min­is­ter boarded a plane to at­tend his fu­neral.

You would think that this king was good and just, kind to his peo­ple and tol­er­ant of oth­ers – but noth­ing could be fur­ther from the truth.

The king I am writ­ing about is King Ab­dul­lah of Saudi Ara­bia – a coun­try we claim to be an ally, but I would use the term “ally” in the loos­est sense of the word.

If you scratch the sur­face, it be­comes pretty clear that King Ab­dul­lah and the Saudis are not re­ally peo­ple we should be as­so­ci­at­ing with, never mind mourn­ing his death.

Is­lamic State is the cre­ation of Saudi Ara­bia and the ex­treme Wah­habi ver­sion of Is­lam prac­ticed in its schools.

And al­though we can ar­gue that ISIS is a Franken­stein’s mon­ster that the Saudis can no longer con­trol, the links are still there.

Many of the judges in ISIS ter­ri­to­ries are Saudis who prac­tice strict Sharia law where meth­ods of pun­ish­ment in­clude flog­gings, limb am­pu­ta­tion and be­head­ings.

Wik­ileaks also re­vealed in 2010 that al­though the Saudis were keen to be an ally of the West and fight ter­ror­ists that threat­ened their po­si­tion in Mid­dle East, they were still one of the largest fi­nan­cial back­ers of Al Qaeda.

In­deed, 15 of the 19 hi­jack­ers who at­tacked the World Trade Cen­tre on Septem­ber 11, 2001, were from Saudi Ara­bia.

And the last thing you want to be in Saudi Ara­bia is Chris­tian, gay or a woman.

If you are caught smug­gling a Bi­ble into Saudi Ara­bia it is pun­ish­able by death.

More­over, 27 peo­ple were re­cently ar­rested for us­ing their own premises as a church, which is il­le­gal in that in­tol­er­ant back­ward coun­try.

Ho­mo­sex­u­al­ity is also il­le­gal. Re­cently a Saudi man was sen­tenced to three years in jail and given 450 lashes for ar­rang­ing to meet other men on Twit­ter.

In 2011 a Bri­tish man was beaten and thrown in pri­son for six months when the reli­gious au­thor­i­ties found out he was gay.

And things aren’t much bet­ter if you’re a woman. Women can’t go any­where with­out a man, they can’t drive, they can’t swim and they can’t be raped, un­less a man tes­ti­fies on her be­half.

Adul­tery, also, is pun­ish­able by death.

Saudi Ara­bia is no func­tion­ing democ­racy – there are no na­tional elec­tions, there is no par­lia­ment, no po­lit­i­cal par­ties and no dis­sent.

In many ways it makes Zim­babwe look like a bea­con of demo­cratic prin­ci­ples.

In fu­ture, be­fore we lower flags in this coun­try for a dead king, we should know who he is and what his coun­try stands for.

So in fu­ture, be­fore David Cameron hops on his plane to at­tend a fu­neral, he should ask whether we ac­tu­ally want friends like this at all.

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