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Pre-2008 Posts

Saudi Arabia to Behead Woman for Witchcraft

King Abdul and his friend, George Bush

Fawza Falih, a Saudi Arabian woman accused of witchcraft in 2006 — one man said she cast a spell on him that caused him to be impotent — has been sentenced to death by beheading.   When she was arrested in 2006, she was held in prison and beaten over 35 days in order to extort a “confession” of witchcraft from her.  At one point she had to be hospitalized for her injuries.  When she finally signed her “confession,” she didn’t know what it was she was signing; she is illiterate and signed via thumbprint.    An appeals court overturned her conviction for witchcraft because she retracted her confession.  But a lower court has now sentenced her to beheading on a “discretionary” basis, for the benefit of “public interest” and to “protect the creed, souls and property of this country.”  

If the Christian Reconstructionists should ever achieve their goals, witches would likewise be executed, unapologetically. 

The truth is, witchcraft is woman-centered spirituality.  The herstoric Crafts of the Wise were and are mysteries known by, and hidden with women.    Patriarchal men cannot abide women’s spirituality or women’s power, or anything women are, have, or do which is exclusive to women and which belongs to us.  Hence, the historic terrorism of the witches.  Hence, the Burning times.  Hence an innocent woman is scheduled to be beheaded.

Human Rights Watch has issued an open letter to to King Abdullah, asking that he intervene.

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21 thoughts on “Saudi Arabia to Behead Woman for Witchcraft

  1. coming from a country that lashed a woman who was raped, i am not surprised

    Posted by Kadawa | February 15, 2008, 12:23 pm
  2. Of course, its okay for Feminists to slay innocent babies in the womb.

    Posted by Daniel Ritchie | February 16, 2008, 12:02 am
  3. Mr. Ritchie, as women, we will decide what we will do with our own bodies. And yes, we will decide what we will do, should we become pregnant against our will.

    I can’t be too concerned about your rage over “innocent babies,” you, who have posted a list of what you feel ought to be done with those babies once they grow up and are, for example, women who love women, or men who love men, or women who practice woman-centered spirituality, or young people who dare to defy their fathers. Your list says these are among the people who should be executed, stoned, that this is the will of God.

    So you’ll excuse me if I do not for one hot minute believe you have one iota of concern for those “innocent babies.” I *know* what you believe. I know you believe that babies who are born, grow up and are executed — in ways you think are just and God ordained — were not part of “the elect” to begin with and so their executions were also God ordained.

    Where it all breaks down for folks like you is, if God ordains ahead of time who the elect are and who is destined to hellfire, then he has *also* ordained this as to the innocent babies in the womb you claim to be so concerned about — hasn’t he? Meaning innocent babies in the womb are none of your concern and none of your business. They are women’s business. And if you believe what you believe, God’s business.

    If, that is, you have any concern at all for the consistency and integrity of your own doctrinal perspectives.

    Anyway, I realize it is inconvenient to be compared with fundamentalists who have recently condemned a woman to beheading for “witchcraft.” Nevertheless, as you know, you and your brotherhood are blood brothers with King Abdul and his brotherhoos. Your own Bible tells you so. As you also know.

    Posted by womensspace | February 16, 2008, 5:45 am
  4. “Mr. Ritchie, as women, we will decide what we will do with our own bodies. And yes, we will decide what we will do, should we become pregnant against our will.”

    No you don’t; you decide to kill another person who happens to live in your body.

    Actually, I do distinguish between babies that have not committed a crime which God has decreed is worthy of death, and wicked witches. As for young people who dare to defy their fathers, that is talking about delinquents, not naughty children.

    Moreover, you have obviously misunderstood Calvinism. While Calvinists believe God has ordained whatever comes to pass, we also believe that people are responsible for their actions – so your argument is a straw-man.

    Tell me, who decides when a person has committed a crime worthy of death? If its okay for you to kill babies in the womb, then what is to stop someone from arbitrarily deciding to kill you?

    Posted by Daniel Ritchie | February 16, 2008, 10:21 am
  5. There are no “wicked witches.” They do not exist. That is a figment of the fundamentalist/bibliolatrist male imagination, including that of your spiritual forefathers who executed innocent women (and a few men) in Salem and Massachusetts Bay Colony and in other places — calling them witches, just as King Abdul has done more recently — believing it was God’s will, men most who believe as you do nevertheless continue to view as having been righteous and honorable, the heroes of your faith.

    There are amongst practitioners of the crafts of the wise a very few who may at times, become overly interested in hexing people. But that is self-defeating behavior, given that most of us believe that whatever we do that causes harm to another person will come back on us three-fold. Woman-centered spirituality, whatever name someone uses to describe it, is about love and respect, very centrally, and about refusing to cause harm to others, whether persons, the earth, creatures, people groups, nations. There are those among us, believe it or not, who would agree with you that abortion is wrong. What we don’t do, that you would do, is, we don’t do violence to another woman, whether emotional, verbal, physical or spiritual violence, we wouldn’t force anything on her at all, whether by laws or in any other way, under the banner of obedience to the Divine. When that’s your theory and practice, as we can see reading your blog and my blog post up there, women end up beheaded, lashed, stoned, “delinquent” sons (read: they defied their fathers) end up stoned, women who are chattel and owned by men who dare to leave and live their own lives and love whom they choose get stoned, and so on. Hence, we have the world we are all now living in, balancing on the edge of annihilation and ruin. Because a whole lot of men think they can decide what wars and what violence and what mayhem are “just”. Those of us who practice woman-centered spirituality have a very different perspective.

    I know that in your reporting of your Calvinist beliefs, you focus on men taking responsibility, not presuming on God’s will. But I’ve known too many of you. When you’ve “taken responsibility” and in so doing, caused severe harm to someone — usually a child or a woman, or an indigenous people group, or a tribe — and lives are devastated, communities destroyed, children taken from their parents,it quickly becomes, not about men’s responsibility before God, now it is all about God’s sovereignty, God’s will, don’t question the will of God, God ordained this, some things are a mystery. God having ordained whatever comes to pass in the course of your exercising responsibility, in other words, is your ever-ready-and-available salvo for whatever murder and mayhem and damage men may have inflicted on one another or women or animals or tribes or communities of people or the earth.

    Mr. Ritchie, nothing is to stop someone from arbitrarily deciding to kill me. My first husband, as a matter of fact, did try just that, arbitrarily in my mind. He thought he had good reason, of course. What’s interesting about those who hold your beliefs is, you can pull out every justification in the world for forcing women to have the babies they are unprepared or unwilling to have, for executing lesbians and gay men, for proselytizing and “evangelizing” indigenous peoples and communities not your own and destroying them in the process, for justifying the stoning of “delinquents” and “adulteresses,” and so on. But let a woman assume that same power of life and death for herself and other women, and that’s a very different story, isn’t it? You want the power of life and death to reside with the patriarchs, with you, with men — never with women.

    Well, some of us disagree.

    Posted by womensspace | February 16, 2008, 4:58 pm
  6. As far as I know this woman never had an abortion. Her only crime is being a woman.

    Posted by Mary Ellen Gottlieb | February 16, 2008, 5:34 pm
  7. Yeah, Mary Ellen Gottlieb. When confronted publicly with what they actually believe, though, and practice, and intend to practice, people with Mr. Ritchie’s views usually do repair to their favorite stereotypes of feminists as baby killers, hoping to divert attention from how horrific their belief system actually is, and what it really means.

    The woman scheduled to be beheaded is innocent, as by far most who have ever been executed for witchcraft were. She has done nothing.

    Posted by womensspace | February 16, 2008, 5:48 pm
  8. Thank you, Womansspace, for making a clear statement on what is wrong with the patriarchal religious system women have been forced to live under for centuries.

    When a man uses the word “Feminists” and “innocent babies” in one sentence you know he is sick with his religion. But worse, he is afraid. He fears losing his power over women because it is the only power he has. His god has all the power over him and the only way he can be masculine again is to lord himself over women.

    It is a sad statement that the only comment he can make is against women and not in defense of the woman who is threatened with being beheaded for witchcraft. The evidence, in the minds of the Saudis, is compelling. She confessed after all. It is sad that he cannot have compassion for the women in Saudi Arabia.

    How can civilized Americans, no matter what their religion, defend this insane, barbaric behavior? Because it is the power they wish they had, that’s how.

    We must never stop being vigilant when it comes to religion taking over our own government.

    Posted by Hypatia | February 16, 2008, 5:50 pm
  9. I think women have to be strong. I’m going to find a way to write to the Saudi government protesting this. We should all contact every presidential candidate (past and current) and bring up this issue with them.

    Honestly, these bibal maniac men are creepy beyond belief. We are never far from the possibility that the creeps are still trying to take over our government, and kill women.

    And then conservative women aid and abett them. Just started reading Laura Ingraham’s book “Power to the People.”
    Very weird. She actually makes strong arguments against pornography and is anti-Hustler/Playboy, but she in no way sources the contemporary feminist movement for this at all.

    In one paragraphy she attacks abortion, and in the next she lauds “our brave troops” and the study of war. It’s this same weird mentality out there.

    Somehow, I got the feeling that she might be a closeted lesbian, and then that gets weird too.

    What’s wrong with these people?

    The creepy thing is that women are very likely to go along with a lot of what these crazy men say. So this site is important; it presents the alternative. Even women on the verge of leaving the woman hating cultic christian groups can access this site in secret.

    We can only hope that international feminist activism can put the Saudi government to shame over their new witchcraze!

    Posted by Satsuma | February 16, 2008, 6:48 pm
  10. Mr. Ritchie,
    Should you really wish to follow Biblical principles, it would be best if you waited until you were at least over 40 years old before presuming to admonish older people (1 Tim. 5:1; 1 Pet. 5:5; 1 Tim 3:6 as well as the lists of qualifications of elders and teachers). I believe that particular Biblical principle was written to help experience in life mellow the judgmental temperament of certain men. Even Jesus did not come to judge. (John 12:47-48) Maybe spending some time in Paul’s writings would help you to understand that Chrisitanity is more a matter of dealing with your own heart before God than a matter of sitting in judgment of others and would help mellow your temperament a bit. Try Galatians specifically – being careful to read Scripture and not spend all your time reading what other men say about Scripture. When Paul spoke to the Greeks in Athens, even though he did not agree with their worship of other gods, he respected them and their beliefs. He presented his case for Christianity and then left matters in the hands of his God. Paul did not stand and rave about how these idol worhsippers should be put to death. No one has truly come to Christ at the point of a sword. The Inquistion taught that if nothing else.

    Posted by Macs Grandy | February 16, 2008, 7:37 pm
  11. Macs Grandy:

    I don’t know if it’s good to lend credence to the bible thumpers by quoting their bible to them. The problem with that book is that you can use it to make any argument you want. It argues for war, then it argues for peace. Is arguing for war against peace? Is arguing for peace anti-war? They would seem to be diametrically opposed yet a case can be made for each using that convoluted piece of work.

    The point of this was that there is a woman in this modern world who may be beheaded by a religious government for being a WITCH for god’s sake.

    And something needs to be done about those beekeeper outfits they are forced to wear in the hot dessert. That alone is torture.

    Then there is the issue of women not being allowed to vote or drive or go outside without permission from or being accompanied by a male relative. !!

    We cannot let this stand on our planet. Because the planet is a small place in the vast universe and it is time to put a stop to this ignorant religious BS. It is way past time, in fact.

    Posted by Hypatia | February 16, 2008, 8:52 pm
  12. Hypatia,

    I agree with much of what you said but, as one who is still working my way out of fundie religion, I’m very well aware that men in those circles only listen to Biblical arguments when they listen to anything. I was attempting to point out the inherent hypocrisy in his stated beliefs and, knowing that he is a strong Calvinist, remind him that his own Bible speaks against what he so vehemently espouses.

    AND, lest we forget, women in our country are still being persecuted in the name of religion. Paige Patterson has fired a woman from Southeastern Seminary after she had taught Hebrew there for a couple of years because she is a woman (did no one notice she was a woman when she was hired????) and, when asked his opinion about women stated that everyone should own at least one.

    The fact that a woman could be beheaded today in our so called modern times is mind boggling but it’s allowing men to get away with hypocrisy that makes it easier for them to do these kinds of things.

    Posted by Macs Grandy | February 16, 2008, 9:31 pm
  13. I think it’s fairly unproductive for people who have never been steeped in bibliolatry/fundamentalist Christianity to attempt to argue the Bible with these folks. Although to outsiders to this world, it does seem like the Bible contradicts itself, to insiders it does not, and especially Calvinists. John Calvin was a lawyer, and his disciples and devotees are completely lawyerly in their approach to the scriptures. They follow all sorts of rules and principles so far as how everything is to be read and interpreted, and what scriptures are compared against what and precisely how and under what circumstances, and what is literal and what isn’t, and the result — perfected over four hundred or so years now — is pretty airtight. So if you attempt to point out inconsistencies in scripture and you aren’t familiar with their system, they will always have answer for you and you won’t know the system so you won’t know how to respond. If you have engaged with this crowd, though, you do know what their answers are going to be. You also know how their beliefs play out in real life. Sometimes there is value in engaging them on this level.

    Posted by womensspace | February 16, 2008, 9:43 pm
  14. I have read the bible in it’s heinous entirety. I was also raised “steeped” in the religion going to a Lutheran parochial school from K-8 grades.

    The fact is, you can argue bible verses in circles forever and a day, yet they will never get it.

    I’ve tried to engage them on this level when it comes to many topics. Pointing out the hipocracy in the bible (so easy) doesn’t seem to phase them. I know their methods and what the next argument will be, especially when discussing the hot topic of abortion. They have pat answers and are never phased no matter what.

    What does phase them? I haven’t discovered it yet, but I keep trying! I think numbers impress them. The more people who speak out against them, the stronger we become and the weaker they grow.

    Thanks for this website. I just discovered it today while searching for a story about the woman in Saudi Arabia accused of being a witch. At least the story made CNN and many people are outraged. The whole world needs to be so outraged by Saudi Arabia and President Bush’s support of them that things start happening.

    Posted by Hypatia | February 16, 2008, 9:59 pm
  15. It is true that this kind of Christian is capable of blowing off even the most persuasive scripturally based arguments. They will use some version of, “spiritual truth is spiritually discerned,” or they will back away from the discussion saying the Bible tells them not to cast their pearls before swine, or whatever. I don’t know if numbers will phase them — then they will find that scripture in the Christian Old Testament that says something like, “I didn’t choose you because you were the greatest, because you were the least of all people,” and they will start harping on how “many are called but few are chosen.” They really have created this airtight system for themselves, and as long as they just talk to each other, it works for them.

    I think the internet really has thrown some major wrenches in their works– not so much the leaders’ who are vested in the status quo, but the many followers who via the internet realize there are zillions of approaches not only to the Bible but to God, to spirituality. Over time, these people become not so easy to control as they were pre-internet days where there was so much more likelihood of being insulated against beliefs and perspectives outside of one’s own.

    Posted by womensspace | February 16, 2008, 10:09 pm
  16. You’re right, Heart. I always seem to forget these things whenever I see men using their own interpretation of their religion to hurt others. Thanks for the reminder! Maybe I’ll get far enough away from my own issues one of these days to learn to not try and reason from their point of view. It is a stacked deck.

    Posted by Macs Grandy | February 16, 2008, 10:50 pm
  17. Macs: Good luck on distancing yourself from fundamentalist christianity.

    As someone who spent a childhood not being able to question I know it is not easy. But it is a very rewarding experience once you are finally free.

    The women in Saudi Arabia have a long way to go. I think there are many of them who believe their fundamentalist teachings as strongly as the fundys in this country, to their own detriment.

    Heart: Although these people have had centuries to devise a great circular argument there have been freethinkers who have deviced great responses as well.

    Great resources:

    “Freethinkers” by Susan Jacoby

    Posted by Hypatia | February 16, 2008, 11:26 pm
  18. I think the main problem with fundamentalism of any kind is that it is a closed system. It seems to think it has all the answers and that everyone else is wrong.

    Right now, I just don’t respond to men ever quoting the bible AT me. It’s a waste of time completely, because they have no real interest in women’s lived and complex realities — they just like being the bosses and the patriarchs and the law givers and the heads… and on and on they go as long as they get to rule over women. It could be islam, it could be christianity, it could be buddhism… it’s men rule and dictate, and they are not accustomed to dealing with the lived thealogical truths of women, let alone radical women.

    It just is!

    Posted by Satsuma | February 17, 2008, 1:35 am
  19. P.S. Thanks Heart for your bible slinging ways. You’re good at fighting fire with fire, but they won’t get it anyway. Fundamentalist women who wander in here will get it, and you’re a real godsend to them!

    Women who have fled these cults of male dominance, and barely escaped with their lives, need so much support. The christian bible cults like to rope the girls in, and then dictate to the young women, and isolate them from a larger world.

    It’s why a lot of home schooling is very creepy to me.

    Posted by Satsuma | February 17, 2008, 1:37 am
  20. I’m amazed that you allow this to be posted on your blog and then respond. You are a brave woman – and obviously one more patient than I. Whew!

    Posted by ceejay1968 | February 17, 2008, 7:19 am
  21. As previously stated Wicca, Paganism, or Witchcraft is not and evil religion it is a religion that harmonizes with the earth and that gives each person far greater power then ever first imagined. In the Wiccan Rede it states that we are allowed to do as we please long as we follow certain conditions. We can harm no one, we cannot even manipulate another person, which obviously means that love spells are forbidden. As far as abortion is concerned women do have the right to control there own body whether they believe in the previously stated religions or not, if they are raped or if they have a disability which would risk there own life in the process of giving birth to a baby then abortion is an appropriate action to be taken by a certified doctor. However when used as birth control abortion is not the action that should be taken, also there are certain times in the very beginning of a pregnancy when the baby developing inside you is not yet considered to be a human. Any way you look at it we all should agree to disagree as many of us stem from many different religions and backgrounds while still understanding these differences and recognizing them and respecting them, if we don’t then we are doomed to repeat history thus eventually destroying ourselves.

    Posted by Relatedtorebeccanurse | March 2, 2008, 11:50 pm

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