Artist: The Saudi Arabian poet Sadiq Melallah
Confronting Bodies: Saudi Arabia government and the state authorities of Qatif
Date of Action: September 2, 1991
Specific Location: Qatif, Saudi Arabia
Description of Artwork: Sadiq Melallah's poetry which speaks out against and questions the accepted social and religious practices in Saudi Arabia.
Description of Incident: On September 3, 1991, the poet Sadiq Melallah was beheaded in the main square of the city of Qatif in Saudi Arabia on the orders of the state authorities. He was decapitated with the sabre by the state authorities of this country, for crimes of blasphemy and abjuration and for denying the faith.
Results of Incident: The horrific assassination of Sadiq Melallah has not been forgotten by the Middle East’s intellectual community. In 1993, two years after the killing of Melallah, the book “For Rushdie: Essays by Arab and Muslim Writers in Defense of Free Speech” was published. The collection of essays was created by over 91 Arab and Muslim intellectuals from a dozen countries, in order to draw attention to the threats and assassinations by Islamic extremists against numerous writers, such as Melallah. Many of the essays in the collection are intended to inform Western audiences about the numerous unsung martyrs to creative expression in the Middle East, from the Egyptian intellectual Farag Foda to the Saudi Arabian poet Sadiq Melallah. And, all of the 91 authors recognize the importance of free and open discourse and bemoan the wave of Islamic fundamentalists who have turned their backs on human rights altogether.
Submitted By: National Coalition Against Censorship