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11-15-2005 11:03 AM

Islamic Justice?
original news source:
Riyadh, 14 Nov. (AKI) - A Saudi secondary school teacher has been jailed for three years for mocking religion, and sentenced to 750 lashes, to be delivered - 50 a week - in the public market of the town of al-Bikeriya. Chemistry teacher Muhammad al-Harbi was charged with mocking Islam, favouring Jews and Christians and studying witchcraft, after a lawsuit was filed against him by a group of students and teachers from his school who he says were out for revenge.

Al-Harbi told Saudi newspaper Arab News in a phone interview that it was "a very cruel sentence". He said the students who reported him had all failed the monthly chemistry test and complained to the school principal when he refused to let them sit the exam again.

Al-Harbi said they were encouraged to report him by some Islamic studies teachers at the school, who were angry that he had taken it on himself to warn students of terrorism and its consequences following the attack on the Al-Hamra residential compound in Riyadh in 2003. After being appointed school activities organiser he held talks with students speaking against terrorism and hung anti-terrorism signs around the school.

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