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posted by martyb on Tuesday January 05 2016, @10:33PM   Printer-friendly
from the when-elephants-argue-it-is-hard-on-the-ants dept.

Protest in Tehran after Saudis execute Shiite cleric Nimr al-Nimr

CNN:

Saudi Arabia said Saturday it had executed 47 people in a single day, including a dissident Shiite cleric, Nimr al-Nimr, who had repeatedly spoken out against the government and the Saudi royal family.

Nimr had been convicted of inciting sectarian strife, sedition and other charges following his 2012 arrest.

Iran, Saudi Arabia's regional rival, summoned the Saudi ambassador in Tehran to condemn the execution, the state-run IRNA news agency reported. The Shiite-majority nation issued a statement deploring the execution and warning that Saudi Arabia would pay a heavy price for its policies.

Iranian Protesters Ransack Saudi Embassy After Execution of Shiite Cleric

NYT:

Iranian protesters ransacked and set fire to the Saudi Embassy in Tehran on Saturday after Saudi Arabia executed an outspoken Shiite cleric who had criticized the kingdom's treatment of its Shiite minority.

The executions coincided with increased attacks in Saudi Arabia by the jihadists of the Islamic State and an escalating rivalry between the Sunni monarchy and Shiite Iran that is playing out in conflicts in Syria, Yemen and elsewhere. Sheikh Nimr was an outspoken critic of the Saudi monarchy and was adopted as a symbolic leader by Shiite protesters in several Persian Gulf countries during the Arab Spring uprisings.

[More after the break.]

Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Iran as row over cleric's death escalates

Reuters:

Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iran on Sunday, responding to the storming of its embassy in Tehran in an escalating row between the rival Middle East powers over Riyadh's execution of a Shi'ite Muslim cleric.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference in Riyadh that the envoy of Shi'ite Iran had been asked to quit Saudi Arabia within 48 hours. The kingdom, he said, would not allow the Islamic republic to undermine its security.

Jubeir said the attack in Tehran was in line with what he said were earlier Iranian assaults on foreign embassies there and with Iranian policies of destabilizing the region by creating "terrorist cells" in Saudi Arabia.Speaking on Iranian state television, Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said in Tehran's first response that by cutting diplomatic ties, Riyadh could not cover up "its major mistake of executing Sheikh Nimr".

The United States, Saudi Arabia's biggest backer in the West, responded by encouraging diplomatic engagement and calling for leaders in the region to take "affirmative steps" to reduce tensions

So what do you think; Is this another normal spat between regional leaders looking for their interest on the region, or a signal of worse things to come?


Original Submission

Related Stories

U.S. President to Visit Saudi Arabia; Arms Sales Expected 51 comments

Ahead of the US president's visit to Saudi Arabia, a series of multi-billion-dollar arms deals have been outlined. The previous US administration suspended some supplies because of human rights concerns.

Deutsche Welle

When President Trump arrives in Riyadh this week, he will lay out his vision for a new regional security architecture White House officials call an “Arab NATO,” to guide the fight against terrorism and push back against Iran. As a cornerstone of the plan, Trump will also announce one of the largest arms-sales deals in history.

Behind the scenes, the Trump administration and Saudi Arabia have been conducting extensive negotiations, led by White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Saudi Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The discussions began shortly after the presidential election, when Mohammed, known in Washington as “MBS,” sent a delegation to meet with Kushner and other Trump officials at Trump Tower.

After years of disillusionment with the Obama administration, the Saudi leadership was eager to do business. “They were willing to make a bet on Trump and on America,” a senior White House official said.

[...] The most concrete part of the idea is a mammoth U.S. arms package for Saudi Arabia that Trump will also announce in Riyadh. Final details are still being worked out, but officials said the package will include between $98 billion and $128 billion in arms sales. Over 10 years, total sales could reach $350 billion.

The sales include huge upgrades for the Saudi army and navy to include Littoral Combat Ships, THAAD missile defense systems, armored personnel carriers, missiles, bombs and munitions, officials said. Some of the production and assembly could be located in Saudi Arabia, boosting MBS’s project to build a Saudi domestic defense industrial capability. But most of the items would be built by American defense contractors.

The Washington Post

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by VLM on Tuesday January 05 2016, @10:57PM

    by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday January 05 2016, @10:57PM (#285364)

    There is a peculiar tech axis not discussed much, in that the Saudi's are having a demographic crisis and are nearing collapse, so they need money to keep their population chill, but "we" started doing all kinds of oil sand/shale stuff which terrifies them. So they need cashflow so pump pump pump even if the price collapses they need to pump even more to pay off the unruly population.

    Which has the effect of killing our shale/sands tech.

    Anyway the relevance to this story is its the oldest ruse in the book, when the economy tanks start a war to distract the population. So when the chocolate ration drops, people will blame their eternal enemy rather than the local .gov.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:32AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:32AM (#285416)

      Anyway the relevance to this story is its the oldest ruse in the book, when the economy tanks start a war to distract the population.

      A slight, but common, misconception. Few leaders actually start wars or other disasters, they reap the benefits when inevitably a negative event happens, sometimes going so far as to allow an event to happen. People see through ploys and plots rather easily and leaders don't stay in power. Far better for them to just wait and strike when opportunity presents itself.

      The event and the goal does not even need to be logically connected so long as they can be emotionally connected when public stress is high. Note the latest anti-gun craze in the US. No one has the power to ban guns or ban freedom of speech so they simply wait for a negative event, ramp up the rhetoric, and take another swing at chipping away constitutional rights.

    • (Score: 1) by legont on Wednesday January 06 2016, @04:38AM

      by legont (4179) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @04:38AM (#285497)

      This one has an additional benefit of oil prices rising during a war. They are, it seems, fixing the issue from both ends.

      --
      "Wealth is the relentless enemy of understanding" - John Kenneth Galbraith.
    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Wednesday January 06 2016, @07:47PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @07:47PM (#285801) Journal

      There's a bit of a "conspiracy" theory in the natural gas industry that a lot of the anti-fracking stuff is funded by the Saudis.

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:00PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:00PM (#285366)

    The Saudi's are a bunch of selfish assholes anyways. They don't seem to be helping with this whole Syrian Refugee thing, or with the fight against ISIL (ISIS, or whatever the fuck they are being called this week), so I have little sympathy for them starting shit.

    Just a question: Are there ANY primarily Muslim countries that are peaceful, prosperous, and generous? I certainly can't think of any. A couple may be prosperous (for a few people) but only because they happened to be sitting on an ass-ton of oil, not through their own actions.

    Please prove me wrong.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:09PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:09PM (#285371)

      Let's rephrase one line here.

      Just a question: Are there ANY primarily religious countries that are peaceful, prosperous, and generous? I certainly can't think of any.

      Because we're certainly not without ensuring we make money out of our prosperity and generosity, or that they conform exactly to our system of governance, or that they believe the fairy tales we heard as kids, or if the color of your skin is not a shade of white, shall I go on?

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:10PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:10PM (#285373)

      Why all this saudi hate, it's not like they flew air planes into twin towers... oh wait.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:54PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:54PM (#285391)

      Please prove me wrong.

      Ok, I will. You're wrong. Flat out. 100%. Completely and without a doubt wrong.

      Full Disclosure:

      This post was given the exact same about of actual thought and knowledge you used to formulate the parent post, I.E. none.

      No follow ups. No proofs. Just words on a screen that agree/disagree with the words I see on my screen.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by GungnirSniper on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:08AM

      by GungnirSniper (1671) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:08AM (#285398) Journal

      The Saudis ... don't seem to be helping with this whole Syrian Refugee thing, or with the fight against ISIL (ISIS, or whatever...), so I have little sympathy for them starting shit.

      You are correct on these points. The Saudis already have the Wahhabi mindset in significant sections of their society, so they don't want to add to it. Fighting against ISIS would only inflame their internal tensions. Iran and the Yemeni rebels are both Shia where Saudi Arabia is Shi'ite so they can be battled without generating major internal security concerns.

      Just a question: Are there ANY primarily Muslim countries that are peaceful, prosperous, and generous? I certainly can't think of any. A couple may be prosperous (for a few people) but only because they happened to be sitting on an ass-ton of oil, not through their own actions.

      Indonesia would probably be the best example of a modern and stable majority-Muslim state. While it does have oil it doesn't rely on it to the degree the Saudis or even the Iranians do.

      As for being generous, and taking refugees, none of the Islamic countries want these potentially-terrorist people among them. Charity and refugee assistance are stronger values in the West than in the Islamic world, it would appear. So that would seem to be a real issue. Many of these economic migrants aren't from the warzones, but from economically restricted areas where government corruption is rife.

      The single best thing we could do is to tie our aid to the cutting of red tape. Otherwise we need to avoid getting in the middle of a potential sectarian war.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:38AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:38AM (#285424)

        > Charity and refugee assistance are stronger values in the West than in the Islamic world,

        Er no. Germany doesn't want them out of charity, they need them because their population growth is negative with the lowest birthrate in the world. [bbc.com]

        The west isn't any more charitable, you are just more easily swayed by western propaganda.

      • (Score: 1) by segwonk on Wednesday January 06 2016, @06:32AM

        by segwonk (3259) <reversethis-{ten.knilhtrae} {ta} {nniwj}> on Wednesday January 06 2016, @06:32AM (#285511) Homepage

        Iran and the Yemeni rebels are both Shia

        Yes, Iran is Shia.

        where Saudi Arabia is Shi'ite

        No, they are Sunni. Mostly, anyway. About 10-15% of Saudis are Shia.

        --
        .......go til ya know.
      • (Score: 2) by bootsy on Wednesday January 06 2016, @03:59PM

        by bootsy (3440) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @03:59PM (#285683)

        Indonesia is also a really big country population wise. The 4th most populous in the world in fact.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_and_dependencies_by_population [wikipedia.org]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @06:10PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @06:10PM (#285760)

        You might want to ask the East Timorese how peaceful the Indonesians can be.

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by edIII on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:09AM

      by edIII (791) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:09AM (#285400)

      Are there ANY primarily Muslim countries that are peaceful, prosperous, and generous?

      I believe the kingdom of Jordan (98.8% Muslim) qualifies as any:

      It is a major tourist destination in the region and is especially popular with expat westerners seeking to live or study in its capital Amman.[14] Not only is the Kingdom considered the safest country in the Middle East, but also considered as the safest Arab country .[15] In midst of surrounding turmoil it has been greatly hospitable, accepting refugees from almost all surrounding conflicts as early as 1948, with most notably the estimated 2 million Palestinian refugees and the 1.5 million Syrian refugees residing in the country.[16] Jordan continues to demonstrate hospitality, despite the substantial strain the Syrian refugees are holding on national systems and infrastructure.[17] It is also the only safe refuge available to thousands of Iraqi Christians fleeing the Islamic State .[18] Pope Benedict described Jordan during his 2009 visit to the Holy Land as a model for Christian-Muslim co-existence.[19] 30% of population was Christian in 1950, however, due to many reasons (mainly the high rates of Muslim immigration) this percentage plummeted down to 6% in 2015.[20]

      Although Jordan is a constitutional monarchy, the king holds wide executive and legislative powers. Jordan is classified as a country of "high human development"[9] by the 2014 Human Development Report . Jordan has an "upper middle income" economy.[21] Jordan enjoys "advanced status" with the European Union since December 2010,[22] and it is a member of the Euro-Mediterranean free trade area. It is also a founding member of the Arab League[23] and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The country is one of the top ten largest contributors to UN Peacekeeping troops.[24] Jordan has a well developed medical sector, making it a medical tourism destination . Also it has one of the world's highest life expectancies, over 80 years ranking it as the second highest in the entire MENA region .[25] Although Jordan has very few natural resources, it has large investments, the reason behind this is the country's highly skilled workforce .[26]

      Jordan is quite modern in fact (in some areas better than the U.S by far), and Muslim people have given us important contributions to Geometry, Algebra, and Trigonometry historically. Nothing actually precludes Muslims from being peaceful, prosperous, and generous intrinsically. Jordan proves that.

      All of that being said, yes, the Saudis and ruling family are a bunch of selfish assholes. That only speaks to that kingdom, and the people who put up with it, not the entire Muslim world.

      • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:46AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:46AM (#285429)

        Wikipedia is not a valid source. Anyone can edit it and thus it should and will be ignored. I question your bias by stating that Muslim people gave us Geometry and Trig. Algebra yes, but the rest belong to the Greeks.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @01:12AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @01:12AM (#285437)

          Whoa now, I just edited Wikipedia and it says Wikipedia is extremely reliable.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @01:29AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @01:29AM (#285443)

          What does it matter if Muslims developed algebra in the middle ages? That was centuries ago. The West developed calculus, split the atom, went to the moon, and much more since then, things that Muslims did not do first nor on their own (up until 1979, the US was helping Iran develop its nuclear capabilities for peaceful purposes).

          People keep bringing up algebra, one contribution from hundreds of years ago; is it because the Muslims haven't done anything worthwhile or relevant since then?

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @01:43AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @01:43AM (#285446)

            They've been contributing to global population control you insensitive clod!

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @04:52AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @04:52AM (#285503)

              From a species wide sense, we do have a serious population issue. If we don't get it under control, arguing about who invented math systems will be irrelevant as we regress back to the paleolithic or worse.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @04:10AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @04:10AM (#285491)

          Looks like someone is censoring anything they disagree with here, just like Wikipedia editors.

      • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Wednesday January 06 2016, @09:03AM

        by isostatic (365) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @09:03AM (#285548) Journal

        Not only that but the King is a Trekkie who was actually in one episide

        • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:15PM

          by VLM (445) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:15PM (#285575)

          He was also a ham radio operator with the ridiculous callsign JY1 (JY=Jordan and 1 is number 1). Unfortunately "was" he's been dead a decade or at least many years now. I never talked to him but he was reported to be a nice down to earth kinda guy, for a king.

          • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:59PM

            by isostatic (365) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:59PM (#285592) Journal

            That was the last King (Abdullah). The current king (Abdullah II) was the prince when He was on voyager [wikia.com]. For a non-speaking extra it's a pretty long article!

            • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Wednesday January 06 2016, @01:00PM

              by isostatic (365) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @01:00PM (#285593) Journal

              Sorry, no, the last king was Hussein, not Abdulllah. It was his father who was Abdullah (1st)

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:43AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:43AM (#285427)

      You aren't wrong. The "generous" part is what disqualifies most. The ones that are prosperous are indeed selfish. The ones that are generous are indeed not prosperous.

      Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Iran, just about everybody with a regional interest that isn't a western nation either cant or wont help Syrian refugees for all the same reason: they want the refugees to die. It's a proxy war between shia, sunni, kurds, and turks. Every country under Islamic law has a large population of refugees they would rather just let die and so that is precisely what they are doing. Russia is even playing the part of useful idiot by bombing indiscriminately.

    • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday January 06 2016, @01:01PM

      by Phoenix666 (552) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday January 06 2016, @01:01PM (#285594) Journal

      Turkey

      --
      Washington DC delenda est.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @02:56PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @02:56PM (#285642)

        Turkey at least on paper is secular. Also, I'm not sure how well they're doing.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Azuma Hazuki on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:05PM

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:05PM (#285369)

    Stay The Hell Out Of This (TM) and, as a nation, work on getting thorium fission, etc., going. The only reason the Saudis are anything but another tribe of murderous maniacs is Western involvement in the region. Washington WARNED us about this, dammit!

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by Snow on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:09PM

      by Snow (1601) on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:09PM (#285372) Journal

      The west is too short sighted to be investing money in things like 'Energy Research'.

      Oh no, when it's time for Thorium Reactors, we will be buying our designs from China and India (as they have been actively funding this type of research for quite some time now). Ironic, no? It wasn't too long ago when we sold our reactor designs to them.

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:16PM (#285377)

        But atomic energy is s-s-scary! I didn't do any research but I've played all the Fallout games! Invest in green energy today!

        • (Score: 2) by isostatic on Wednesday January 06 2016, @08:58AM

          by isostatic (365) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @08:58AM (#285547) Journal

          Atomic energy makes things glow green, so that's ok

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:34AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:34AM (#285419)

        Thorium research is being developed and funded by the federal government. The US and friends are at the forefront of the technology. China and India are half a decade behind. Why else do you think they keep trying to hack into R&D servers?

        • (Score: 2) by kurenai.tsubasa on Wednesday January 06 2016, @04:02AM

          by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @04:02AM (#285485) Journal

          Perhaps. China and India will be the first to actually gain experience operating thorium reactors while the West (except perhaps France) will be NIMBYing themselves into 3rd world status.

          --
          Merry fucking Christmas!
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:11PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:11PM (#285375)

      If only we had applied Stay-The-Hell-Out-Of-This™ from the get-go. The world would be a much different place.

      And I would've gotten away with it, too, if it weren't for you meddling foreign nations!

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:58PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:58PM (#285393)

        Form a Non-Meddler party, and it just may pick up 20% of the votes. Not enough to bring about instant change, but enough to start nudging and embarrassing the meddlers.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:37AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:37AM (#285421)

        If we stayed out of it, tens of millions at minimum would have likely died. Israel would be wiped from existence. A second holocaust would have happened successfully. Shia or Sunni, which one would be buried along with Jewish and Kurdish peoples no one can say.

        Is the world a better place for our involvement or not? Another answer no one can say with certainty.

        • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Wednesday January 06 2016, @02:59PM

          by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @02:59PM (#285645)

          Yeah but those are Other People. Maybe if we'd Stayed The Hell Out of the Middle East 9/11 wouldn't have happened.

          --
          "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by PinkyGigglebrain on Wednesday January 06 2016, @11:11AM

      by PinkyGigglebrain (4458) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @11:11AM (#285567)

      Even if there wasn't a drop of oil in that entire region the USA would still be getting involved in the middle east due to the simple fact that those running the USA want Israel to carry out their part to set the stage for the Second Coming of Christ. Any nation that is a threat to Israel gets sanctions and worse to prevent them from wiping Israel off the face of the map. Why else would the USA give a fuck about what happens to Israel? It has no resources, no strategic value and no oil, but it DOES control the area containing Jerusalem.

      --
      "Beware those who would deny you Knowledge, For in their hearts they dream themselves your Master."
      • (Score: 2) by Azuma Hazuki on Wednesday January 06 2016, @06:53PM

        by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Wednesday January 06 2016, @06:53PM (#285776)

        Uuuugh...I had almost forgotten that, yeah :/ Sometimes I think the only difference between the Taliban and the Dominionists is whether they shave or not.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by takyon on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:31PM

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Tuesday January 05 2016, @11:31PM (#285381) Journal

    Troubles Are Up In The Middle East, But Oil Prices Are Down. Huh? [npr.org]

    But in recent days, even as tensions have been growing between two key oil producing nations — Iran and Saudi Arabia — oil prices have been falling. They slipped below $36 a barrel on Tuesday.

    Why?

    Experts explain it this way: the two countries are both in OPEC, but now are on such bad terms that they'd be unlikely to agree on anything – including a plan to reduce drilling. OPEC members are supposed to reach a consensus before changing production policies – and right now, the OPEC policy is to maintain existing high levels of pumping.

    "If they can't agree on an output level and some way to control prices, then everybody will just keep all-out pumping and try to raise as much money as possible for their countries," said Daniel Katzenberg, senior energy analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co.

    And there's another big reason for the low global oil prices: America's abundant supplies.

    --
    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @04:49AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @04:49AM (#285501)

      That's only until the oil can be delivered from over there. Once it's hot, forgetaboutit.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:22AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @12:22AM (#285409)

    Fuck you, and this post.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @03:21AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 06 2016, @03:21AM (#285468)

    As acted out by another religion.