Home / Culture and Society / Spirituality / Religious Intolerance: A Young Saudi Serves A Life Sentence For A Deadly Joke

Religious Intolerance: A Young Saudi Serves A Life Sentence For A Deadly Joke

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There are good jokes, bad jokes, and PJs. Now there's a new kid in the block, the DJ — a deadly joke, a joke that could lead you to years of imprisonment and perhaps cost your life.

You'd think I'm joking. I wish I were, but sadly, I'm not.

That's what happened to Hadi Al-Mutaif, a young Saudi whose joke about the Prophet Muhammad didn't go down well with the Saudi authorities. As a result he's already spent thirteen years in prison, and still languishes in a solitary cell without proper medical attention.

It all started 13 years ago, in 1993, when Hadi, an 18-year-old teenager from the desert of Najran joined the Najran police training camp to become a policeman. While he was getting ready to join his fellow recruits for the afternoon prayers following the usual call from the Imam to pray upon the Prophet, Hadi allegedly joked, "Let's pray upon the penis of the Prophet."

His quip was reported by two or three colleagues, leading to a series of unfortunate and equally bizarre events. He was first handed over to the local police station, then to the Saudi domestic intelligence where he was tortured, held for months, and finally put on trial in December 1994. He was found guilty and was sentenced to death.

Two subsequent appeals, one in a court of Mecca and the other one in the Supreme Judicial Council, were both rejected. Apparently in all his trials, Hadi's religious background – he's an Ismaili Shia – became a major factor that swayed the judges. In Saudi Arabia, the Ismaili Shias are hated by the ruling Wahhabi Muslims.

The Wahhabi Chief Justice had even argued that Hadi must get the death penalty, not because it's just for his derogatory comment on the Prophet but because he's an Ismaili Shia. The death sentence was later commuted to life imprisonment by King Abdullah.

Presently Hadi, 31, has started a hunger strike and wishes to fast until death.

At best, Hadi's joke on the penis of the Prophet was just a joke like any other, and there's nothing more to it. At worst, it's a silly remark from an 18-year-old immature teenager. In what kind of society would such a comment earn someone in life imprisonment?

Look, I am not religious, and I really don't care about the penises and vaginas of Gods and Goddesses, and their messengers. For all I know, Gods need to screw the Goddesses because that's how you keep the God-line going. Which holds equally true for their messengers, most of whom have fathered multiple children.

I know that the Hindus worship "Shiva Lingam", the "Penis of Lord Shiva" and feel quite happy about it. I know that there have been thousands of jokes on the penis of Jesus. Actually, there's a website called Jesus Penis and I don't think the Pope is after the people who maintain that website.

And I do know most religions could care less. The portraits of Hindu Goddesses are generally quite sexy and revealing and very much acceptable.

The Pope might not like the birth control pills and condoms but he's not worried about the arguments on the length of Jesus's penis.

The problem with Islam is not that it is habitually intolerant. The problem with Islam is the people, the likes of the Saudi Royals, the Taliban, and the mullahs in Tehran, who use Islam to further their own fascist agendas.

Sending someone to prison for life, for making a "silly" comment about the Prophet when he's 18, is wrong. It violates all the letters of the word "human".

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About Q Bit

  • Cross-posting to DC for greater attention

  • Thanks Aaman.

  • dc~ac

    what would you do if someone made a joke like that on you father or mother or someone very dear to you??

  • I doubt very much that I’d sentence them to death or do much more than point out their insensitivity.

  • STM

    DC – AC wrote “what would you do if someone made a joke like that on you father or mother or someone very dear to you??”

    What would I do? Tell them not to be silly.

    Instead, he gets to spend the rest of his life in a stinking Saudi jail.

    This is the kind society in which islamic fundamentalists want us to live. The frightening thing is, they can’t work out why we’re not interested.

    Tragic, all round.

  • Donnie Marler

    What a sad story. Thank God I wasn’t judged on the remarks I made as an 18 year old.

  • And thank God Q Bit never pursued a career as a comedian.

  • dc~ac

    then excuse me for saying that you have no respect for either god nor his messengers.

    how do you expect to go to heaven if you don’t even fear GOD himself??

  • Who can respect a creature that doesn’t actually exist? It would be like respecting wookie…

  • khalid

    I do not know how this outher is silly. If you know real Islam you would say, ” Hadi should got killed because of his joke”, but since he 18 years old, he was judged just to put him in the jail. Q Bit, Do you know how Prophet Mohammed is important to Musim. Neverthless, I am sure you do not know and you will not know until you know the real Islam.


  • Sunny D

    It appears on face value a harsh decision, but who am i to judge. Perhaps he could be given an opportunity to atone for his immature mistake. We all do things
    when young taht we think back on and regret. Perhaps its true that a society can be judged in the balance it achieves in such things and its ability to show mercy and clemancy.

  • Cannonshop

    #10 So… you’re saying you worship your prophet, rather than your god? Interesting. I couldn’t find the bit in the Q’uran about Mohammed being Allah, and therefore worthy of the same deference. Perhaps you can enlighten me as to how Muhammed (a man)=Allah (god).

    It’s something that strikes me as equivalent to putting someone in prison for mocking the Christian Pope or making Pervy Priest jokes, but then, my copy of the Q’uran maybe isn’t the annotated “Teacher’s Edition” with the answers in the back and the extra-secret chapter explaining how suicide (a Mortal Sin) is blessed as long as you take out a bus full of tourists or a playground full of kids.

    Once, Khalid, the Islamic world was a shining beacon of enlightenment, with architecture, science, art, and philosophy-an example to the world of what TRUE faith could build when it honoured its God rather than the men who claimed to speak for Him.

    This was while my ancestors were shivering in the darkness and hunted by both man and beast in diseased ignorance.

    Seems the roles have reversed. This story’s just another example of how FAR islam has fallen from its heights.

    When your faith needs guns or bombs or knives to protect itself from ideas and words, it is truly weak, and in decline.

  • Amal

    #12- its not in wear or in decline. stop trying to bullshit ppl.

    i do agree that the death sentence in the beginning was a harsh punishment. but in Saudi arabia, and especially in the Islam, jokes about the religion are not taken lightly. the prophet Mohammed is one of our most important prophets.
    Anyone living in a muslim country would know jokes like that arent aceptable. even though hes only 18… he shouldnt be stupid enough to say something like that because everyone knows how much shit you can get into. Saudi arabia is a muslim country, that means they base most of their laws off the religion..in other countries people make jokes about jesus because it has become acceptable an there is noone to stop them..religions used to be strong until people just abandoned it all.. it has never been acceptable to make jokes about the prophet or God for muslims.
    i think a couple of nights in prison would have just taught him a lesson and showed people not to mess with that kind of stuff… because they prefer to keep their religion as something to be proud of and to follow.. not just documentation.

  • Amal, any religion that needs to make laws like that isn’t worth following in the first place…

  • CommieCowboy

    The West should have stood aside and let Brezhnev enlighten these primitives 30 years ago.