Constitutional Principles

Atheists are Now Considered Terrorists in Saudi Arabia

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If you’re an atheist, you might want to stay out of Saudi Arabia from now on.

According to Mail Online, King Abdullah has issued a new decree that anyone caught fighting in conflicts abroad could be thrown in the slammer for up to 20 years, apparently to deter Saudis from joining Syrian rebels. While that’s restrictive enough, the king slipped another draconian measure in.

As noted in the report, the decree also applies to any citizen or foreigner residing in Saudi Arabia who “calls for atheist thought in any form or calls into question the fundamentals of the Islamic religion on which this country is based.” In other words, Saudis can now be imprisoned for decades for what effectively amounts to thought crimes, much like George Orwell referenced in Nineteen Eighty-Four.

“Saudi authorities have never tolerated criticism of their policies, but these recent laws and regulations turn almost any critical expression or independent association into crimes of terrorism,” Deputy Middle East and North Africa Director at Human Rights Watch Joe Stork told Mail Online.

Of course, abuses of power like this are seemingly inevitable as certain governments desperately try to maintain their power. For another recent example, take a look at North Korea, which now requires male students to have the same haircut as Kim Jong-Un. Or consider the case of the Ukrainian government’s text message it sent to warn protestors they were registered as participants in a “mass riot” after it passed strict laws on public gatherings.

But don’t worry. This couldn’t happen in the United States. After all, it’s not like government power has been abused to curb dissent in the Land of the Free, right?