In an interview on Salaamedia, Senior Research Fellow at the Media Review Network, Dr Mustafa Mheta, expressed concern and outrage at the recent execution of 81 political and religious dissidents in Saudi Arabia, including a 13-year-old child, and argued that they were devoid of judicial merit.
He added that these executions were directly against the Quranic ruling that taking one life is like killing all of mankind. What was particularly concerning was the deafening silence from the ulema fraternity in Saudi Arabia and in South Africa who failed to offer any response to these executions.
The Saudis have claimed that the 81 executed had committed various crimes but none were individually listed. Although Julie Alli, the host of the Salaamedia programme posited that the official Saudi narrative were that these crimes were either drug or murder-related, Dr Mheta correctly pointed out the fallacy in believing the official narrative from the House of Saud.
He further added that the Saudis were hiding behind so-called crimes of drugs and murder charges. He, however, emphasised that the majority of those executed were Shia from Qatif region and other political dissidents who were opposed to the establishment and advocated for equal rights.
The effect of such executions, Dr Mheta pointedly argued, were to display to the Saudi people the consequences of opposing the regime in Riyadh. No political or religious dissent is tolerated by the regime. Dr Mheta opined that, whatever narrative the Saudi regime put forward, such pre-planned mass killings was not and should not be allowed in a Muslim land. He questioned whether the Saudi regime is chasing a Guinness world record for such actions.
These kind of actions were creating unpopular feelings amongst the people. Having lived and studied in Saudi Arabia, he had personal experience of this. Dr Mheta, from his interactions with people in the Kingdom, is of the opinion that most of the citizens of Saudi Arabia are good Muslims and love Islam.
Many citizens now even questioning the recent Western-styled musicals such as the Justin Bieber concert which took place not even 50 miles from Islam’s holiest sites. State-sponsored media and ulema have not dared to object as they would lose the stipends.
Never bite the hand that feeds you appears to the official mantra of many political and religious leaders in the House of Saud.
The establishment in the country has attempted to appease many disgruntled Saudi’s by investing heavily in tourism-related projects around the country.
Amongst those executed were long-term migrant workers, often treated as mere slaves, and who are illegible for citizenship or even residency, despite being in the country for decades. Even their home states rarely speak out against the ill-treatment of their nationals, for fear of losing out on Saudi funding they receive. The conditions of the workers were leaked to the Daily Telegraph of London, who exposed the terrible conditions of the migrant workers, something akin to animal-like treatment.
Dr Mheta opined that the way forward would very soon come from the masses in general and this would eventually bring down the regime. The House of Saud should learn from what had happened in Iran, which had the largest and most sophisticated army in the Middle East and who were the darling of the Americans. However, a popular Islamic revolution overthrew the Western-backed Shah, who subsequently died in exile. The ultimate lesson for the Saudi regime is that the people will eventually resist their unjust rule.
The Saudis, for years, have been falsely hiding their actions behind the concept of the Abrahamic system. Muslims around the world should become aware of the happenings in Saudi Arabia, join the call for justice in the country and make dua for change.
Abdool Aziz Shaikh
Media Review Network
082 447 8945