Two guys were arrested under sharia law in Saudi Arabia for doing the “free hugs” YouTube video phenomenon. The video’s since been taken down, unfortunately, but it got to over one and a half million views.

I agree with the jurisprudence view of sharia law – it’s a religious law. So I figure you’re free to follow it (as long as it doesn’t conflict with the law of where you live), but not to force it on other people. As far as I’m concerned, stopping someone from being able to drive based on whether they have a dick or not* is not okay. Locking people inside burning buildings to die because they’re not wearing a specific colour of clothing is even less okay. On the scale of things that rank as okay, these are all pretty far down the list, so putting them in a specific order is pretty frivolous. But stopping Free Hugs because of “exotic practices” seems like a grade-school level of dickishness on top of the larger violations of human rights.

I really hope this comic doesn’t come off as Islamophobic. If you’ve read the Koran, Islam is a religion of peace; and I can respect the hadith of Mohammed. (My favourite is when a woman’s face was uncovered, instead of ordering her to cover it, Mohammed turned a staring man’s gaze away.) But this isn’t about religion, not really. It’s about forcing something on other people, and it’s about violating human rights. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a group using Islam or Christianity or even Communism or McCarthyism as an excuse to do that, the faith isn’t the problem here. The problem is the ethics of control.

*Under sharia law it’s supposed to be no driving for women, but man, I’m gonna guess that someone who agrees with enforcing their religion on others isn’t gonna understand that not all women need vaginas.