Saudi Arabia is one of a small number of theocracies left in the world. It is by far one of the most influential, rivaled only by Iran. Saudi Arabia’s law is based on a puritanical interpretation of Sunni Islam. As is the case with puritanical strains in any religion, this means that women and other marginalized people suffer disproportionate levels of discrimination.
Not only is homosexuality punishable by death in the kingdom, but negative views of queer people are reinforced at a young age. A report from the Anti-Defamation League has revealed that Saudi textbooks for the new year are encouraging violence against LGBT people, Jews, Christians, Shia Muslims, and women.
One particularly problematic passage intimates that gay sex causes natural disasters.
“If sodomy appears in society then God descends swiftly upon its people with punishment, disasters and ailments afflict it, and epidemics and diseases spread, and injustice prevails, and corruption reigns in the land.”
It goes on to encourage violence against queer people.
“The masses of jurists go [so far as to say] that the punishment for sodomy is like the punishment for fornication. [namely death].”
People have harsh words for Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia has not just started being corrupt, they have always been against our values, they likely funded 911 and other extreme terrorist ideas. The don't tolerate gays, transgender, LGBT or women rights, they execute people in the streets. They have oil, it's a fact— Bruce Spurlock (@bmspurlock) November 22, 2018
Excuse me while I choke on your sudden outrage at Saudi Arabia. They’ve been butchering women, LGBT ppl, Yemenis, and god knows how many other marginalized groups for years. Then some straight married guy gets killed and everybody’s up in arms? Spare me. #wearehumantoo— CATO (@CATOsound) November 22, 2018
Homophobia is well and alive in the world as we know. However some countries take it to a level which is both seemingly absurd and ridiculous. Bigotry, famine and punishment all indicative of a patriarchal society where real power is the hands— Melissa Griffiths (@melissaracing) November 23, 2018
of a few. https://t.co/6EGgaCsTx1
Every time a gay shakes his butt at a party a tree falls in Saudi Arabia... 😒 https://t.co/nEaJzvYINO— Amarildo Fecanji (@AmaryFecanji) November 23, 2018
Meanwhile, the kingdom has been embroiled in controversy over the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
I joined forces with @RobBerschinski on this piece. We write:— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) November 24, 2018
President Trump's overriding/disregarding the CIA assessment that Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince was involved in #KhashoggiMurder would violate a federal statute.https://t.co/F3Q9NqM4NV
Jamal Khashoggi’s murder has defined Trump....The President personal interest takes precedent over his country’s.— Rula Jebreal (@rulajebreal) November 24, 2018
Trump should hang his head in shame over Saudi Arabia: Oh wait he already did. https://t.co/4YCg9DNGEi https://t.co/FsVsWfoUoD
And while President Trump refuses to acknowledge the kingdom’s involvement, other countries are taking action.
Germany's decision could have a spillover effect: the British government has been trying to sell Saudi Arabia more combat jets that are part of a four-country arrangement https://t.co/W27lupkJdR— The Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) November 24, 2018
When Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman became Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, many hoped that this would mean major reform from the 33-year-old ruler. However, it seems that progress in the kingdom still far away.