Saudi Arabia is immune to hypocrisy, it seems.
As the country crucified a man to death in the holy city of Mecca this week, it continued its very public fight against Canada over the country’s alleged human rights violations.
At first, Canada attacked Saudi Arabia for its treatment of jailed activists, prompting Saudi Arabia to hit back with its state-run media attacking Canada for arresting a holocaust denier and other "prisoners of conscience."
Saudis also criticized Canada for its suicide rate, saying that Canadians are killing themselves because of their way of living.
The fight became so contentious that Canada’s ambassador to the country was expelled, trade between the two nations was frozen, and Saudi nationals are no longer allowed to receive medical care in Canada.
The man murdered on a cross in Mecca was Elias Abulkalaam Jamaleddeen, who stood accused of murder, theft, and attempted rape.
Crucifixions are rare in the country. However, death sentences remain commonly used as punishment.
Despite Saudi Arabia’s push against Canada, the North American country remains firm in its criticism of the kingdom.
Recently, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland called on Saudi Arabia to release women arrested for fighting for women’s rights, using Twitter to share Canada's concerns for families suffering because of the arrests, prompting the Saudi media to use an infographic with a 9/11-themed airliner flying toward Toronto’s skyline.
Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi’s sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia. Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this difficult time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi.— Chrystia Freeland (@cafreeland) August 2, 2018
Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Ministry also responded, saying that Canada is trying to interfere “in the internal affairs of the Kingdom."
"Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs," the Ministry added, according to CNBC.
#Statement | The Canadian position is an overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of #SaudiArabia and is in contravention of the most basic international norms and all the charters governing relations between States.— Foreign Ministry ???? (@KSAmofaEN) August 5, 2018
While Canada and Saudi Arabia continue to fight publicly, the United States and United Kingdom, both allies to Canada and Saudi Arabia, seem to try to avoid controversy by simply stating they remain close to both nations.
The U.K. recently said it “regularly” raises concerns regarding human rights abuses with Riyadh. And in a statement, the U.S. State Department said it would comment about Riyadh’s human rights record in an annual report while calling on Saudi Arabia to respect due process. Still, there is no word from either country on the ongoing public spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia.
Clearly, both nations are either afraid of pressuring Saudi Arabia or simply not too concerned about the country’s human rights abuses. It's an obvious hypocritical stance considering how vocal both the U.S. and the U.K. usually are whenever discussing abuses committed by nations they seek to invade.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Ahmed Jadallah