Sorcery and Witchcraft Punishable By Beheading

Posted by Tony on June 24th, 2012

At first this headline sounded like a joke. This kind of treatment doesn’t still happen ala the Salem witch trials, does it?

It apparently and disturbingly does.

Muree bin Ali Issa al-Asiri was executed several days ago in Saudi Arabia for possession of books and talismans associated with witchcraft.

Asiri wasn’t executed old-school before-the-gun-style either…he was beheaded.

Details on the incident are slowly leaking out at this point. Sebastian Usher, the BBC’s Arab Affairs Editor states that the country’s powerful conservative religious leaders strongly prohibit such practices. A few of them even calling for highest possible punishment for anyone caught practicing ‘sorcery’ which includes fortune tellers and faith healers.

The very real threat of losing your dome over practicing ‘sorcery’ isn’t stopping people from getting all ‘witchy-like’. While pressure from human rights groups saved a television host of a fortune-telling show in 2010, it didn’t save a Saudi woman last December or a Sudanese man last September even after Amnesty International called for their release on both occasions.

Travel tip? Don’t try to catch up on True Blood while you’re there.

[BBC News]

  • mxyzptlk

    Just to be clear, al-Asiri was beheaded in Saudi Arabia.

  • Penguin Empire

    Africa has a really bad time with anti-witch laws leading to the persecution, torture, and murder of women and children (children often thought to be possessed). Where did all these anti-witch sentiments come from in a region than historically had shamans and what not as respected tribal elders? Christian missionaries did a great job making sure the really important parts (sarcasm here) of the bible got taught. The ‘kill the witch’ bits and ‘casting out of demons’ rather than the ‘love they neighbor’ and ‘thou shalt not kill’ bits.  And of course there are leaders like Helen Ukpabio who are wanting to come to the US to spread their brand of hatred against gays (and witches). See: 
    http://www.americanfreethought.com/wordpress/2012/05/28/podcast-152-stacie-gonzalez-vs-helen-ukpabio/ for more information on her and what is being done to keep her away.