stopped in my tracks when I heard Tahir’s voice saying ‘Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi raji’un’ twice at one go. Instead of the kitchen, I quickly made my way to the sitting room to check. There he was, seated on his favourite chair and shaking his head with vigour.
‘Who died?’ I asked without hesitation, assuming that his actions can only be the result of hearing such bad news.
‘It’s Jamal Khashoggi’ he replied, pointing at something on the screen of his phone.
‘But surely that is not news. The man has been dead for over a month and the whole world already knows about it, so why are you acting so shocked?’ I asked.
‘Naturally Bint, I’m not shocked by the news of his death, I’m shocked by the sight of his body.’ He replied, with irritation.
‘Or so they have found his body, alhamdulillah, at least his kids will have the joy of giving him a decent burial. Where did they find it?’ I asked, still standing a few feet from him.
‘They didn’t find his body Bint, why don’t you listen to what I’m saying? I just received these horrible pictures which someone must have taken soon after the brutal killing of the man. They are photos of his dismembered body along with his disfigured face. They are horrifying Bint, just take a look.’ He replied, handing the phone to me.
‘No no no Tahir, I don’t want to see them. How can I look at something so horrific? Do you want to prevent me from falling asleep tonight?’ I asked, declining the offer of his phone.
‘Come on Bint, don’t be a coward. They aren’t that scary, I mean I was shocked at first but it isn’t the kind of thing that could keep you awake at night. In fact I was more shocked by the fact that the killers could go to such lengths to violate the body of a dead man. What would they gain by it, a dead man is completely harmless. Why inflict even more harm on his lifeless corpse?’ He wondered aloud.
‘You know the general belief is that the killers wanted to dispose of him without raising any suspicions. So because they are so evil and heartless, they decided that cutting the body to pieces was the best way to get rid of the chief evidence. At least in that form, they might have carried him out of the consulate in a carton or a suitcase.’ I opined.
‘Maybe that could explain why they had to dismember him, but why skin his face off from his skull as if leaving the face intact would bring him back to life?’ Tahir queried.
‘Skin his face off his skull? You mean that was what they did?’ I asked in horror.
‘Yes indeed, that was what shocked me most. Look at it your self, you can see what a dream team of evil merchants descended on that man.’ Tahir answered, again raising his phone up to me.
‘No Hubby dear, there is no way I’m going to look at that picture, no way. But you are right, they were the ultimate merchants of evil. How did they feel doing this to a fellow human? What kind of human beings were they and even if they were acting on orders, what sort of gain did they wish to have that will motivate them to desecrate a human corpse that way? Kai, but these people must be caught and tried and executed for this gruesome murder of an innocent man.’ I replied.
‘But no one can be sure of those men being subjected to justice. The Saudi authorities have shown no willingness to either try them or extradite them to Turkey for proper trial. It seems the murderers are well protected. The man alleged to have instructed them to do the killing is supposed to be the most powerful man in the kingdom today. With a patron like that will these people ever be put on trial?’ Tahir.
‘But if that was really Jamal Khashoggi’s face, then the Muslim world must come together and take a stand against this foul murder. We must not leave it to Turkey alone to fight against such evil. Already other countries of the world are withdrawing from numerous international engagements with Saudi Arabia, but from the Muslim nations one only hears a deafening silence.
Unless we want to be seen as the Saudi ruler’s accomplices in this vile and despicable act, we must rise in unison and demand that Khashoggi’s killers must be brought to justice or else we will also boycott the kingdom.’ I declared.
‘What do you mean by boycotting the kingdom? Are the Muslim nations of the world strong enough to enforce any economic boycott that the Saudis will feel? Most of their trading partners are developed nations. We can only campaign for and encourage them to lay sanctions against the kingdom.’ He suggested.
‘No Tahir, even poor Muslim nations and indeed individual Muslims can embark on a boycott of Saudi and succeed. Look at it this way, Saudi Arabia’s main influence in the world is that it is host to Islam’s holiest places, the Haramain. The Grand mosque housing the Holy Ka’aba in Makka and the Prophet’s (SAW) Mosque at Madina are the only reasons Muslims troop to Saudi Arabia every year and even several times a year for worship. If we come together to threaten that the Saudis hand over Khashoggi’s killers and their master, for prosecution, or we will boycott the Hajj and umra from now on, don’t you think they’ll do it?’ I asked.
‘They might and on the other hand they might not. The current Saudi rulers do not have enough spiritual depth to care that Muslims are threatening to boycott the pilgrimages. They will even be more rattled by the Western world’s economic boycott than our spiritual effort. Additionally majority of the world’s Muslims will consider it a sacrilege that someone is calling for a boycott of the pilgrimages. So even there, the pressure may not yield the desired result.’ Tahir concluded, dejectedly.