September 7, 2016
The Honourable Bardish Chagger
Minister of Small Business and Tourism
House of Commons
Canada K1A 0A6
RE: Saudi Arabia’s continued persecution and abuse of atheists and apostates
as a concern for small businesses in Canada
Dear Minister Chagger:
As advocates for secular humanist rights, SCS is concerned about the continual persecution and abuse of atheists in Saudi Arabia. While that kingdom is infamous for its disrespect for human rights in general, it is particularly harsh in its treatment of atheists and apostates.
Indeed, Saudi Arabia has a law that automatically labels atheists and apostates as terrorists and makes them subject to the harsh treatment, including execution, that Saudi law specifies for terrorists.
Raif Badawi is the best known of the persecuted people under Saudi law and while he was sentenced to prison and lashes, he seems to have escaped the death penalty only because he advocated for free speech rather than directly advocating for atheist rights.
More recently, a blogger who wrote directly about atheist ideas, although apparently did not speak out directly against religion, has been sentenced to ten years in prison and two thousand lashes.
In your mandate to promote and assist small business in Canada, please remind small business owners that while doing business with Saudi Arabian companies may be attractive because it has business benefits, it bears the burden of supporting, even indirectly, a very repressive and fanatic regime.
Doug Thomas, President