Saudi Arabia Not Yet Ready to Enter the 18th Century

The Daily Mail reports:

A woman convicted of practising magic and sorcery has been executed by Saudi authorities…. The London-based al-Hayat daily … quoted Abdullah al-Mohsen, chief of the religious police who arrested the woman, as saying she had tricked people into thinking she could treat illnesses, charging them $800 (£500) per session.

If this was fraud, it should be punishable as fraud. But it seems pretty clear that she was punished not for stealing money from people by lying, but for what the legal system views as the independent crime of witchcraft or attempted witchcraft.

UPDATE: Some commenters expressed some skepticism about the Daily Mail but other news sources say much the same; see, for instance, this AP story and this South Asia News Agency story (though the latter doesn’t have the fraud details). Also, I forgot to thank Prof. Howard Friedman (Religion Clause) for the pointer.

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