Craven and offensive

THE Government decision to fly flags at half-mast on some official buildings on the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is offensive.

It is a spineless affront to values we hold dear because the gesture honours a society that lives by, and vigorously promotes, values we abhor.

Saudi Arabia stands accused of spending something around $100bn spreading an extremist ideology — the kind of blind fundamentalism that fuels Isis and Boko Haram and the zealots active in France, Nigeria and Belgium two weeks ago.

That fiefdom, funded by the 21st century but rooted in the 13th, sentenced Raif Badawi to 1,000 lashes in increments of 50 because he did no more than open a conversation. In fairness, one flogging was deferred because wounds inflicted by an earlier one had not healed. It’s attitude to women — and poor foreign labour — is neanderthal. Saudi Arabia’s Wahhabism, and its violent intolerance, is at the root of much of the chaos in the world but the country gets a free pass because of the influence its wealth allows it bring to bear.

Our Government must explain this shameful decision.


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