In the latest development surrounding the saga of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, reports say the Saudi government is gearing up to say that Khashoggi died as a result of an interrogation gone wrong. While many are questioning that narrative, the new development is an indication that international pressure over the journalist’s disappearance is having an effect. But Christian televangelist Pat Robertson thinks the international community is being a bit too harsh on the notorious human rights-abusing kingdom.
It was quite a sight, really. Robertson, who’s been an immovable barnacle in evangelical Christendom for decades, dismissed Prince Mohammad Bin Salman‘s Wahhabi brand of Islam as “obnoxious” on his 700 Club TV show this Monday.
Robertson, who tried all he could to characterize former President Obama as a Muslim when it was politically expedient for him, is now willing to give a pass to a genocidal government that most likely murdered a journalist inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
“I just want to cool down the temper of those who are screaming blood for the Saudis,” Robertson said in a video flagged by Right Wing Watch and posted to Twitter. “Look, these people are key allies. Our main enemy in the Middle East is Iran, and the Saudis stand up against Iran.”
“And I know that Wahhabi faith they practice is obnoxious, and what they’ve done in relation to women is obnoxious — some of their courts are obnoxious, but nevertheless I don’t think on this issue that we need to pull sanctions and get tough.”
Pat Robertson responds to reports that the Saudis murdered a journalist by telling everyone to calm down and focus on the important things, like the lucrative arms deal we have with them. pic.twitter.com/06b7s3R6Xe
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) October 15, 2018
Obnoxious indeed. To this day, Saudi Arabia continues to repress freedom of speech and dissent. According to Amnesty International, a whole range of crimes are punishable by the death penalty, including “sorcery” and “adultery” — although that’s a concept Robertson could probably endorse.
Whether Robertson’s view is from the heart or motivated by something else, his conciliatory tone toward what looks like a provable case of horrific barbarism against a journalist is one he shares with the President. In statements to the press, Trump is also willing to provide cover for MBS, saying that Khashoggi’s killers may have been “rogue” agents.
Unconfirmed reports suggest Saudi Arabia is preparing to admit that Mr Khashoggi died as a result of an ‘interrogation gone wrong’ and that the original intention had been to abduct him. MBS and his henchmen are lucky have their own propaganda wing in the U.S. emanating from the mouths of veteran Christian leaders.
Featured image via screen grab