The two countries do not have a formal extradition treaty but Malaysia has good relations with Saudi Arabia as a fellow Muslim country, says the BBC’s Jennifer Pak, in Kuala Lumpur.
Okay, a nation’s borders are its business but refusing sanctuary to a man who – in lieu of a stink that would make the outcry that followed Yousef Nadarkhani’s prosecution look like a polite cough – is destined to be killed is nauseating.
Then again, it doesn’t come as a surprise. The Malaysian government is proud to declare that it’s “moderate”, not “extremist”, but as noted in Back Towards the… passim its state and civil society are marked by communitarian rhetoric; hostile exclusivism and absurd paranoia. Deviations from the lifestyles and beliefs of the religious majority – effeminacy, say, or apparent sympathy with minority religions – are liable to get you packed off for “re-education”. Elsewhere, more traditional and straightforwardly punitive sentences like caning are enthusiastically upheld.
There are major difference between Malaysia and Saudi Arabia – and they’d seem really big if you lived in either – but the cruel absurdity of Islamic law unites them nonetheless; they’re kindred, at least, in spirit. And, thus, “moderation” remains barely meaningful.