CHOPPER! The Saudi method reduces crime AND prison populations AND witches!

What was that quote? "The banality of evil"?

"It's all very normal..."

Posted by B. Durbin at December 4, 2006 5:40 PM

celebrate diversity. I blame George Bush.

Posted by m at December 4, 2006 6:42 PM

Medieval savage.

Posted by M. in Boston at December 4, 2006 7:21 PM

I don't mind beheadings nearly as much as I mind this guy's pride in his work.

Posted by Ursus at December 4, 2006 7:26 PM

Just checking here...

Is the problem capital punishment, the method of execution, or the fact that the executioner is proud of his work?

Posted by John Burgess at December 4, 2006 8:03 PM

Another public service by MEMRI. The more we learn about the way the Arabs live and think--particularly the House of Saud--the less there is to like.

Posted by Dick Stanley at December 4, 2006 8:06 PM

I simply cannot watch anymore of this.

It is too chilling. However, because I think appeasement is unconsciously based on deep fear, seeing this horrifying interview may only trigger more tendencies to appease, rather than rally the troops, so to speak. In other words, extreme terrorism which this video is, evokes extreme pacifism and appeasement...kind of like a yin/yang thing.


Posted by Webutante at December 4, 2006 8:28 PM

John Burgess - Since you asked, I have major problems with dismemberment (whether lethal or not) as a punishment in the 21st century, particularly when practiced by a society that hasn't the excuse of primitive isolation.

That goes double for a society that performs said dismemberment as a public spectacle.

Posted by M. in Boston at December 4, 2006 8:32 PM

Mr Burgess, are you suggesting a moral equivalency there? Capital punishment is capital punishment? I'd initially be much more concerned with certainty of guilt, than in punishment methodology, and we know who wins there, in both cases, hands down!

Posted by REN at December 4, 2006 8:34 PM

er, hmmm, like, er, in the us of a you don't execute people? in what way is execution by the sword a morally nmore repugnant scenario than execution by the electric chair? so the guy is proud of his work? do you think the guy who pulls the switch on the electric chair should be ashamed of his work? if he should be ashamed of it, shouldn't all america be ashamed of it? if all america's ashamed of it, shouldn't america stop doing it?

Posted by matt in london at December 4, 2006 9:51 PM

A further answer to Mr. Burgess is that the issue is not so much methodology of punishment, or whether or not there is to be capital punishment at all. It's not about whether the executioner enjoys the work. It's not even certainty of guilt, as proposed by REN, although any society benefits if the people believe guilt or innocence is fairly established. Show trials are one of the last signs of a failed system.

No, the real problem is in the definition of the underlying offenses. Death or severe mutilation for minor theft? For sexual transgressions that are not even violent, not an evolutionary threat? For criticizing one's government? For printing cartoons? For changing one's religion? For refusing to live with a spouse who is abusive or simply repugnant?

The human soul cries for justice; of which one component is proportionality. That is the root cause of our disgust here. And well it should be. The sight of a matter-of-fact beheading would be far less barbarous and in fact almost fitting, if the victims were all proven torture killers, serial rapists of children or calculating traitors to our country.

Perhaps it would be best in some idealized world, if humans could get beyond the need to close off brutal events with the deaths of the perpetrators. However, with Jihad at our throats, this nicety must be postponed. Let's just hope we survive to consider it again in some kinder, gentler decade.

Posted by AskMom at December 4, 2006 10:21 PM

Don't we execute people in this country?

Posted by bbqwings at December 4, 2006 10:49 PM

Thanks Matt, I knew someone else would chime-in with more moral equivalency! I hate that phrase the days, but it keeps being invoked.

Where is this coming from? It's as though what's being done in the West REALLY equates with what is done in there, in the Middle East and Eastern Africa.

Do you really believe this? If so, I DARE you to shoplift in Mogadishu, Somalia or in the Sudan, to defame Islam or openly insult a political or religious leader just about anywhere in the Middle East!

You KNOW there's a difference and yet some of you act as though there's not, or worse, that the West is somehow more vile and amoral.

The question, as AskMom suggested, is proportionality in punishment largely different between tribal and civil societies? And as I asked earlier, are the requirements for establishment of guilt for a crime higher in the West or in the Middle East?

Posted by REN at December 4, 2006 11:02 PM

Isn't it a sin for her hair to be showing? Why hasn't she been scheduled for execution? Do celebrities get special treatment from the wahabbies? Inshallah they will remember their commitment to purity. /sarc.

Posted by Mike H. at December 5, 2006 12:19 AM

Some countries are less developed than other countries, and it is more naturual to kill each-other as a punishment in these countries.

The more a country is lagging behind, it is also more common with circumcision. In some parts of Africa, both men and women receive death-punishment, and both sexes are circumsised. In the USA, currently only males receive death punishment and circumcision. In Scandinavia, no sexes receive death penalty or circumsision. This will hopefully also be the case in the USA in 100 years, and in Africa in 500 years.


Posted by Johan at December 5, 2006 1:15 AM

I'm sitting in Saudi while writing this so my perspective is perhaps a bit different than other posters on this site. I'm Canadian as well so my views on executions are also influenced by my nationality, we are, after all, all products of our environment, just as this executioner is.
There are degrees of violence that are tolerable to all societies. The level that is acceptable to the population is often set by the government, and visa versa. It's a feedback loop that establishes a level of comfort for all involved. A government that utilizes a high level of violence on an international level, as well as uses death as a deterent at home, can only expect to enjoy a high level of violence in it's domestic culture. The opposite is also true. It is not a coincidence that Saudi Arabia recently rounded up over a hundred revolutionaries determined to kill members of the royal family and innocent civilians. Conversely, American presidents run a high risk of job related murder. Do Saudis and Americans kill their own and others for the same reasons and on the same moral high ground? Not at all. The majority of executions in Saudi Arabia are for three offenses; rape, murder and smuggeling hash over the border from Yemen and the UAE. Is the level of justice equivalent? Not even close. Sharia law is not based on a written system of offence=punishment. Sentences are often wildly different for similar offences. Often this depends on race. Sudanese and Pakastanis are exectuted while Saudis are imprisoned or 're-educated'. But then that's not all that different from the US either is it. hmmmm. seems there's some room for moral confusion in all of this.
Executing people is a bad idea. Period. That I think I can be sure of. Whether it is an effective deterrent or not is irrelevant. It increases the level of tolerance of violence for all citizens and therefore contributes to the victimization of innocents.

Posted by sheldon at December 5, 2006 3:16 AM

Re: Sheldon's quote: "A government that utilizes a high level of violence on an international level, as well as uses death as a deterent at home, can only expect to enjoy a high level of violence in it's domestic culture."

I take this comment as being directed at the U.S. Nice theory, but Americans were violent even *before* we had the capacity to exert ourselves across our borders.

So watch yer back, Canuck.

But seriously, I support the death penalty in cases of genocidal mass murderers and soldiers who refuse lawful orders in combat situations.

Posted by Dan at December 5, 2006 7:27 AM

Now you have to realize that these punishments are not done very often. Why you ask? Because Saudi Arabia has one of the lowest crime rates. Which means there are fewer criminals to deal with. I lived in Riyadh for a year and shop-owners used to leave their shops wide open while they went away to go run errands because they had complete trust in the public because of the low crime rate. In such a situation people were expected to take whatever they need and leave the money on the counter.

Posted by baadshah at December 5, 2006 8:00 AM

You be a jugde:

Saudi Arabia, last execution 2005, number of executed in 2004 -- 33,
USA, last execution Oct 24 2006, number of executed in 2004 -- 59

Posted by K at December 5, 2006 8:36 AM

Thank god we don't execute people in the good old USA.

Posted by johnboy at December 5, 2006 8:55 AM

If the punishments are "not done very often"...then it must one hell of an amazing coincidence that the executioner knew some of his "clients".

Posted by Mumblix Grumph at December 5, 2006 10:49 PM

Both countries execute people, yes, but I think what most westerners are finding so discomforting about this is that the man is being interviewed on TV (imagine CNN interviewing the Texas State Official Lethal Injector) and he seems to find the act of killing people so 'normal'. The frequent references to Allah don't help either. North Americans will NEVER be able to fully understand a country such as Saudi Arabia. For just one minute imagine getting up in the morning and putting on exactly the same clothes as everyone else in your country. Imagine KNOWING that God sent his FINAL and absolute last prophet to be a citizen of your culture (I don't use the word country because Saudi is marginally a country). While Americans are deeply religous they worship a member of a distant semitic tribe (yes, Jesus was an Arab, the jews were simply one more tribal group). Imagine how different your mental image of yourself and the righteousness of your culture and its actions would be if you KNEW God's final prophet was born and raised in 18th century Boston while the traditions of Boston were sanctified by God's words which you KNEW to be God's actual thoughts and beliefs. It's an interesting thought experiment. Would Americans still be burning witches?

Posted by sheldon at December 5, 2006 10:54 PM


You wrote:

"Saudi Arabia, last execution 2005, number of executed in 2004 -- 33,
USA, last execution Oct 24 2006, number of executed in 2004 -- 59"

Had you really studied your own link, you would have found that the wikipedia citations on Saudi Arabia's executions were sadly outdated! The last execution in Saudi Arabia was NOT in 2005.

Look at the cites more closely, specifically number 133, and you'll see something much more interesting as well:

Read the link, it clearly says Saudi Arabia verifiably executed at least 17 people in the month of November 2006 alone, to America's 3. While you're there, look at Iran, they have Saudi Arabia beat twofold!!

As a final check, Amnesty International, hardly an apologist for the USA, reports international figures for capital punishment for the year 2005:

"Iran executed at least 94 people, and Saudi Arabia at least 86. There were 60 executions in the USA."

Not to forget, America has over 300 million people to Iran's 68 million and Saudi Arabia's 30 million. We have more people but less executions in raw numbers, even less per capita.

Posted by REN at December 6, 2006 2:29 AM

Executions per capita
Saudi: 33/20 million = 0.00000122
US: 59/300 million = 0.000000197

Saudi executions are 6 times the rate of the US per capita. And with baadshah's claim that the crime rate is SO LOW in Saudi, what does that tell you about their barbarity?

But what's so revolting to me about this guy is that he actually seems to enjoy his work. If I were an executioner in the US, and had to throw the switch on a friend, I'd find another line of work. This guy just sees it as a job to do.

Posted by Hack Ptui at December 6, 2006 5:32 AM

Is that Jeannie's evil twin sister?

Posted by StephenB at December 9, 2006 9:51 PM

Johan, if males in Africa are "receiving" circumcision so much, why is there a study ( which suggests that Southern African men should get circumcised?

And maybe if Scandinavian countries still used capital punishment, their massive immigrant rape problem ( would not exist.

As my Finnish ancestors would say: "Hakkaa päälle!"

Posted by Eric Sivula Jr. at December 16, 2006 9:32 PM

I don't understand Johan's whole 'circumcision of males' and modern progress point anyway. Yes, the point makes sense with female circumcision, it's completely inhumane and an act of abuse and control. Female circumcision typically has NO real relevance to male circumcision, they're completely different things done for different reasons in different ways. Perhaps Johan is talking about male castration (which I doubt Johan is) because that's about the only possible thing you could relate to a female circumcision. Even then it's NOT the same.

Posted by REN at December 17, 2006 1:34 PM

I think the "Head chopper" was in that movie "I'm gonna get you sucka"
Could be wrong but I doubt it.

Posted by Mordoc Smith at January 21, 2007 5:04 AM

Eric: Johan, if males in Africa are "receiving" circumcision so much, why is there a study ( which suggests that Southern African men should get circumcised?

Africa is a big place, and South Africa is less barbaric.

REN: Female and male circumcision is not the same.

Agree. Both are done in different ways, from only removing the clitoral hood to skinning the penis. The first example is also done in the west for curing orgasmic problems.

However, any removal of tissue from the sexual organs is a symbolic act. The molested child must endure terrible pains. It is not uncommon for boys to puke when genitals parts are cut of. I think the symbolism is that "we decide over your body" which also is included in the symbolism for death penalty.

Posted by Johan at January 23, 2007 1:09 PM


Unless you MAKE THE DISTINCTION between the 'circumcision' which really amounts to an improper mutilation of the genitalia AND a 'western' type circumcision which is done generally for health and wellness (such as the removal of male foreskin or perhaps portions of the female clitoral hood in select cases of sexual dysfunction, as you mentioned), your symbolism is almost completely lost. In any case, if you're going to talk about imprisonment, torture and death, then ~ talk about imprisonment, torture and death. Western circumcision simply does not fit your comparison.

Posted by REN at February 26, 2007 2:39 PM

Beheading is considered much much better than years

of mental and physical torture in Guantanamo Bay...

Or the death-by-chemical injection..also by the U.S

Beheading = Scary,

Fear of crime = Justice,

thats how they do it I guess.

Posted by John at September 23, 2007 2:46 PM

When in Rome...
If you don't like the Saud (Shar'ia)way of doing business, I'd avoid travel there and certainly avoid offending the powers.

We, on the other hand, have teen 'mothers' tossing babies down trash chutes in NYC, dropping them in toilets in SC, gangs shooting pedestrians from cars and enough murderers in a single prison to populate a medium size city.

Lets start cutting off some heads.

Posted by Peccable at May 28, 2011 12:04 PM

Did I miss it, or has no one on this thread quoted Predator?

"Get to da Choppah!"

Posted by mushroom at May 28, 2011 7:18 PM

Even more could be saved by finding some serial killers already in jail and having them do the executions! Bet they'd work for the work itself.

Posted by Dagny at May 29, 2011 7:57 AM

"In Scandinavia, no sexes receive death penalty or circumsision. This will hopefully also be the case in the USA in 100 years, and in Africa in 500 years."

I don't know how I'd get through the day if it weren't for arrogant Scandi fools talking down to me.

Posted by pst314 at May 29, 2011 5:31 PM

They don't execute family members who carry out "honor" killings--they hardly impose any sanction at all for that.

Yes, they're dirty animals. Yes, we're better than they are.

Posted by Mike James at June 25, 2012 11:53 AM

How could I leave out what was in the article Gerard linked--Saudi Arabia puts "witches" to death, thought Saudi Arabia doesn't have a penal code, a legal definition of "witchcraft", and leaves the decision to condemn someone to death by beheading up to a "judge" operating without those things.

It's not a small world after all, and all men are not brothers under the skin. I'll put due process in the U.S. up against that of Saudi Arabia any goddam day of the week, you Eurofucks and Yankee crybabies. We are better than they are. They are lower.

Posted by Mike James at June 25, 2012 12:14 PM

In the West's Medieval and near-modern past -- when beheadings were a common form of execution for upper-class miscreants -- the executioner was anonymous -- hence the hood and mask. He was not "ashamed" of his work, but not proud of it either -- he simply had a facility for this kind of work. He was often tipped handomely by his "clients" so that he may do the deed quickly and well, and also because the victim wished to show he had no hard feelings towards the man wielding the axe.

I don't see this kind of ritualized formality with the Saudis, who have not made this man anonymous, and have trivialized capital punishment to a depraved degree reminiscent of public hangings in Dicken's era.

Those of you claiming to not be bothered by the method of execution are not thinking this through, not putting this in the context of our superior Western civilization, and are showing historical ignorance. I have no issue with capital punishment myself. I take issue with not beong able to distinguish between outright barbarism and our way of handling these matters. The dismemberment of people left alive is beyond the civilizational pale, and needs no other comment.

Posted by Don Rodrigo at June 25, 2012 2:13 PM

Ok, what is the recidivism rate in Rydiah or Teheran?

Posted by Peccable at June 25, 2012 3:49 PM

I'm sorta with Don Rodrigo on this. A hood might be appropriate, and publicly talking up the job is uncivil. But perhaps, letting everyone know that if you screw up big-time, and you're going to meet a merciless guy like this, you'll think twice before you start down perdition's path.

Every country is different, but some countries have decided to grant their government this power. I see no moral high ground for those who would just lock up and throw away the key. That Brievik is only getting twenty years does not make the Nords civilized, or civil, or moral. The once world-striding Vikings have been reduced to timid would-be slaves.

Given that, you want for the executioners to take no pleasure in it. It's to be a d*** dirty job, and if civilization is to be preserved, somebody has to do it. A hood protects the executioner to remain a member of civil society, while at times being called upon for necessary barbarity. As each citizen get the call for jury duty, so should each Peace Officer get the call to take out the trash once in a while. Which implies that the method can be reliably done by each Officer, with only a modicum of training.

Posted by John A. Fleming at June 25, 2012 4:59 PM

Left out of the equation is the high number of women who are killed in the name of honor. Murdering one's daughters isn't considered a crime in most Muslim countries. Even in death, women don count.

Posted by Jewel at June 25, 2012 6:30 PM

Not only is the chief executioner in Saudi Arabia not anonymous, he's a celebrity. Anyone who has ever held this position has been famous and highly respected. And as far as I know, always a black from East Africa. Not only that, before the abolishing of slavery the High executioner was always a slave of the Royal family as well

Posted by Callmelennie at June 25, 2012 9:39 PM

I think the whole abolishing slavery thing is kind of half-assed, anyway. Lots of stories about how foreign guest workers get treated which would curl one's hair. These people are not our moral equals.

Posted by Mike James at June 25, 2012 10:08 PM

So, in addition to cutting off heads, he also wants to check out his client's digestive system? Is the next permutation to get all William Wallacey on witches and criminals?

Posted by Kokor Hekkus at June 26, 2012 8:05 AM

There's a Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement against Israel. Yet, I haven't heard of any against Saudi Arabia. I wonder why?

Posted by mjazzguitar at June 28, 2012 5:43 AM

There is no outcry for two reasons. We have a traitor in the White House and they fear Islam.
These lunatics are very useful idiots for the administration to use as tools.

Posted by AntithesisoFreedom at June 30, 2012 1:13 PM

Let's get a good argument going!

How is this executioner and what he said any different than Chris Kyle the Navy Seal sniper?

Posted by Potsie at March 12, 2013 1:11 PM

Why, Poisie, everybody can see that this guy is black and Chris Kyle was white. Duh! That makes this guy a victim and Chris Kyle evil and guilty as hell. We all know that Chris Kyle deserved what he got because he was white male gun lover.

Posted by edaddy at March 12, 2013 1:39 PM

It turns out that book of spells that Mr Muree bin Ali bin Issa al-Asiri had was a Math book.

Posted by Roger in Republic at March 12, 2013 1:46 PM

There are some interesting points in time in this article but I don’t know if I see all of them center to heart. There is some validity but I will take hold opinion until I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more! Added to FeedBurner as well

Posted by Sasha at April 6, 2013 8:20 AM

Many get all "ooooh, how yucky" over this but isn't a big part of capital punishment the deterrence factor? And isn't a reaction of fear, disgust and repugnance what is wanted? And to maximize this shouldn't the act be open and public?

There are very definitely criminals who should be killed. Those who wish to spare such seem to see themselves as morally superior. The exact opposite is the truth. They are moral idiots. Not only do they allow monsters to live but they provide an example to would-be monsters that maybe slaughtering women or children for fun or sexual thrills isn't such a dire risk after all.

The problem is in the application of these kind of actions. I would not remove a thief's hand on a first offense. But I might consider it on the third. In some states there is a three strike law in effect. I would give the thief with a third conviction a choice of life imprisonment or loss of a hand. And he can pick the hand. And if he steal again he gets to lose the other one.

Beheading for premeditated murder is quite a good thing. I would do the same to those who prey on children but only on the second offense. Ditto rapists.

Posted by scory at May 19, 2015 1:41 PM

I think it would be culturally sensitive for the Federal Government to engage Mr. Al-Bishi to decapitate the Boston Marathon bomber - at the very site of the explosion, on a large sheet of clean, clear plastic, just like they do in the Kingdom. The body can be turned over to the family for burial. The head should then be taken aboard a jet fighter and flown across the Atlantic Ocean, to be dropped into the sea by a device that will release it at a random moment, so that not even the pilots will know where it has gone.

Posted by Punditarian at May 20, 2015 8:23 AM

I don't feel like fooling round, playing out any Marquis de Sade punishments and complicated system of first offence, second, so forth.
If we want harsher punishments for certain kinds of crime, just use capitol offence as a sentence, a bullet in the head, all done.
No fanfare, make the guy a star, by the time we find him guilty he will have been reduced to an organism due for termination.
I never got any kicks from killing or otherwise delivering fatal wounds.
The act of taking a life is a negative feeling for me; it will be just as empty and melancholy as the first one was.

Posted by chasmatic at May 20, 2015 11:52 PM