Friday, February 10, 2012

"Wherever you find them, kill them." Part Two (On the arrest and impending death of Hamza Kashgari)

According to media reports (see links at bottom of post), 23 year old Saudi Arabian journalist Hamza Kashgari is in grave danger. There is a very real likelihood that he will be put to death for the crime of blasphemous tweeting.

On Saturday, the anniversary of the birth of Muhammad, Kashgari posted the following three tweets (text taken from the Global Post article linked to below):
  • On your birthday, I will say that I have loved the rebel in you, that you've always been a source of inspiration to me, and that I do not like the halos of divinity around you. I shall not pray for you.
  • On your birthday, I find you wherever I turn. I will say that I have loved aspects of you, hated others, and could not understand many more.
  • On your birthday, I shall not bow to you. I shall not kiss your hand. Rather, I shall shake it as equals do, and smile at you as you smile at me. I shall speak to you as a friend, no more.
As a result, according to Global Post, "a warrant was issued by kingdom authorities for his arrest and the Kingdom's religious Fatwa Council condemned him as an apostate and an infidel, crimes which are punishable by death."

Those who have been following this story know that Kashgari fled Saudi Arabia fearing for his life. He planned to request asylum in New Zealand, but only got as far as Kuala Lumpur airport in Malaysia, where he was arrested on Wednesday while waiting for a connecting flight. According to the New York Times, “The [Malaysian] police have contacted their counterpart in Saudi Arabia to determine the next course of action,” according to Hishammuddin Hussein, the Malaysian Minister of Home Affairs.

It is often claimed that Malaysia offers a good example of a "moderate" Muslim society. I believe that this is true, and that we are now seeing just what "moderate" Islam looks like in action.


Further reading: