According to a report in a Saudi newspaper, authorities are seeking to expand the death penalty for homosexuality to include those who merely say they are gay on social media. From Britain’s Mirror:
The government in the Sunni Kingdom is reportedly demanding tougher punishments on those found guilty and claimed social media has caused a boom in homosexuality. According to Okaz newspaper, the last six months has seen 35 cases of homosexuality and 50 cases of cross-dressers as well as cases of “sexual perversion” in Saudi Arabia.
The judiciary reportedly also claimed there has been a large rise in “perverts” displaying “sins and obscenities” on social media in the Sunni Kingdom. It comes after a Saudi man was arrested this week when he raised the rainbow flag outside his home in Jeddah. The doctor was arrested by religious police within hours of hoisting the flag in the port city. But he was released shortly afterwards when he claimed he had no idea what the pride flag symbolised.
Currently, the Saudi government hands out fines, prison sentences and whipping for being openly gay. A second conviction automatically merits automatic executions although vigilante executions are also common.
More from the Washington Blade:
Chanan Weissman, a spokesperson for the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, told the Blade on Tuesday that the U.S. is “aware of these reports, but cannot verify their accuracy.” “We continue to gather more information,” he said.
Social media users in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere have begun to use the hashtag “You will not terrorize me. I’m gay” on Twitter to express their opposition to the proposed penalty. Saudi Arabia is among the countries in which consensual same-sex sexual activity remains punishable by death.
The State Department’s 2014 human rights report notes it is illegal for men “to behave like women” or cross-dress. It also says the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice — the so-called “religious police” that enforces Sharia law in Saudi Arabia — uses undercover agents to target owners of social media accounts that distribute “pornographic content or served as social networking tools for LGBT persons in the kingdom.”
The man behind the Saudi LGBT Twitter account told the Blade on Monday that agents with the Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice use people they arrest as “bait” to entrap LGBT people who are online. “It’s happened so many times,” he said.
Rush Limbaugh took note of the story on his radio show yesterday as he denounced the corporate response to North Carolina’s hate law. A partial transcript:
Here comes Saudi Arabia, openly claiming they want to kill, they want to execute anybody they discover to be homosexual, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and the reaction is a ho-hum and a yawn. Much like American feminists, who try to find all kinds of misbehavior in the Republican Party, all kinds of War on Women, sexism and discrimination, whatever you have it, and yet when it comes to Islam, ignore the general second- and third-class status of women in that culture.
They don’t speak out against it. And, in fact, defend Islam when it is properly accused of being behind terrorism, we’re told, “No, no, no, no, Islam is a religion of peace, Islam does not sponsor terrorism, it’s an offshoot.”
So all kinds of things are said in defense of Islam that truly subordinates women to second- and third-grade status. Well, much the same thing here. We’re gonna go after and try to economically damage North Carolina or Georgia or any other state, Ohio, anywhere where they attempt to establish and affirm anything close to religious freedom and religious liberty, gotta slap that down, we got make sure that doesn’t happen. And we’ll ignore what goes on in Saudi Arabia, and we might even continue to do business with them.