Monday, 19 September 2011

Why Abdullah Fandi al_Shammari should be spared

In January2005 I received the worst phone call of my life. It was telling me that my sister had been stabbed to death by a man she'd had a relationship with. Nothing could ever have prepared me for news like that, or for the effect it would have on who I am, and my life.

I had had a good deal of experience of grief: the loss of my mother from cancer, the death of my grandparents, a school friend who'd died in a road accident, a number of friends who died of overdoes or intentional suicide. I had also known the victims of violent death. I'd even had the experience of finding , someone I shared a house with dead. So I can, with experience, say that the death of a loved one, by violence is vastly worse than any of these experiences.

I was, in short, to experience a level of pain I could not have imagined. Though it would have been impossible for me to have done so I was burdened with the irrational feeling that I should have been able to protect my sister. I had a feeling of guilt which I knew made no sense but would not leave me. For about five years I could not have honestly answered yes to the question "Are you OK?" because I was not OK and could not even conceive of ever feeling OK again. I had times when the pain was so great that my whole torso ached with pain for days on end.

And yet I am arguing against the execution of Abdullah Fandi al_Shammari who was convicted of murder. The first point is that had my sister's killer faced execution it would not have lessened my pain in any way. It would, in fact, have added to the burden. I say this because waiting for the execution would have caused me to be constantly aware of my sister's killer. It would have also introduced the uncertainty of waiting for an unknown execution date. My grief was hard enough to deal with without introducing the idea that I could have only had "closure" after an execution.

Execution does not deter murder. If it did the murder rate would be lower where there was a death penalty. As the link shows the USA with a death penalty has 5.22 homicides/murders per 100,000 population. In the UK without it the figure is 1.57. This correlation between societies with a death penalty and a high murder rate is repeated again and again across the globe.

In a jurisdiction where there is a death penalty the state's act of intentional killing lowers respect for human life. It most clearly does nothing to make for a society safer.

I argue that the life of Abdullah Fandi al_Shammari should be spared because I am convinced that executions lead to a more violent society.

Abdullah Fandi al_Shammari is due to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia eight days from the writing of this blog post.


  1. You're a strong man, Noel, I hope I would be as strong as you if I ever got caught up in a similar situation.

  2. Hi Noel
    Your opposition to the death penalty is inspiring to say the least I,m sure under the same circumstances I would have wanted revenge.
    All my adult life I've opposed the death penalty the sooner countries like the US stop executing their citizens the better.
    I just heard the Governor of Oregon John Kitzhaber has halted all executions so there is hope.

  3. I understand losing a loved one. The same thing happened with us. With died a spiritual death when we disobeyed Yahweh in the Garden.


    Romans 3:23
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God

    Romans 6:23
    For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Romans 5:8
    But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

    John 3:16
    "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    Romans 10:9
    That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    Act 4:12
    Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved."

    1 Cor 15:1-8
    I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.2By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you
    For what I received I passed on to you as of first importancea: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter,b and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. 7Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, 8and last of all he appeared to me

    John 10:10
    I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

    Matthew 28:18-20
    18Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them ina the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always

    John 14:26
    26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

    Proverbs 3:5-6
    5Trust in the LORD with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
    6in all your ways acknowledge him,
    and he will make your paths straight

    2 Cor 5:8
    We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

    You know my ex-wife of ten year accused me of some horrible things against my chidren. None of those things were true, but it did drive me closer to the Maker of the Universe, Jesus. I am now happily married again and the kids are safe away from her. She has to give an account of all of her lies and adultary she has committed. But I do forgive her and now have a deeper relationship with Jesus because of the pain and tragedy that happened in my life.

    Because of our disobedience we died spiritually. Yahweh had a plan though, He sent His son Jesus into the world, to suffer the same pain as we humans go through, was absolutely obedient to the Father, and yet was crucified because of our disobedience. Three days later he gloriously rose from the dead, conquering death and giving us the hope of eternal life with Him because of what He did. 1 Cor 15 tells us He was seen by over 500 people after He was resurrected.

    There are so many eyewitness accounts in the New Testament of Jesus of Nazareth. Verse after verse. Luke 1:1-3, 2 Peter 1:16, 1 John 1:3, Acts 2:22, John 19:35, Luke 3:1, Acts 26:24-26.

    Here is the evidence and I will provide more as well.

  4. The god problematique

    To assert as some do that science does not prove god does not exist is a questionable proposition. There seems to be much linguistic confusion around this. How can science with its instruments see or peep into a being that has no body, no weight, no shape, no mind, - in short, no attributes of an entity, in any form or shape, that human beings can undestand? To use Ockham's razor to help us along, we may say instead that the whole idea of such a 'being' defies common sense. Yet people cling on to such a nonsensical 'ghost in the machine', the god in the known universe. However, to imagine a god 'existing' in an imaginary universe is possible! Perhaps there lies the solution to the problem that takes into account conflicting views.