In 2012, Raif Badawi, a dissident Saudi blogger, was arrested on charges of apostasy and insulting Islam. Two years later, a Saudi court sentenced him to ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes, of which he has so far received only the first set of 50. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, has since taken refuge in Canada, and devoted herself to obtaining his freedom and to human-rights causes more generally. She writes of the anti-Semitism endemic to the Arab world:
Central to [my husband’s] case is his vision of a different future for his country and region; a future based on our shared humanity; one based on acceptance, respect, and mutual understanding; one that aspires to peace in the region.
Central to this vision is an end to the discourse of hatred that we have learned in our childhood, mainstreamed by extremist religious teachings and governments’ cynical exploitation of the Israel-Palestinian conflict. Central to this vision is an acceptance that we are all equal in dignity and rights regardless of our religion, thoughts, sex, color, or social status.
Central to this vision is the recognition that Jews are not our enemies. . . .
We were taught in the Arab world that the Holocaust was just a big lie. . . . Since childhood, we grew up on hatred of Jews and were taught to curse them. We must insist on repudiating these messages and work actively to eliminate them.