Saudi journo to be returned home

Saudi journo Mohamad Najeeb A Kashgari aka Hamza Kashgari

Saudi journo Hamza Kashgari who was detained upon arrival in Kuala Lumpur International Airport by Royal Malaysia Police after blasphemous tweets against Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. last week, would be returned back to his homeland tomorrow.

BBC report on Kashgari’s detention:

Saudi detained in Malaysia for insulting Prophet tweet

The controversial tweet sparked more than 30,000 responses, including death threats
Continue reading the main story
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Malaysian police have detained a Saudi journalist accused of insulting the Prophet Muhammad in a tweet.

Hamza Kashgari posted a controversial tweet on the prophet’s birthday last week that sparked more than 30,000 responses and several death threats.

He was held on arriving at Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Thursday, officials said on Friday.

It is unclear if the newspaper columnist will be extradited.

The 23-year-old tweeted on Saturday: “I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don’t understand about you. I will not pray for you,” the AFP news agency reported.

He has apologised for his remarks and removed the offending tweets, but that did not stem the outrage. Clerics have called for him to be charged in court.

It is considered blasphemous to insult the prophet. Blasphemy can be punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

Malaysian authorities did not say where Mr Kashgari flew to Kuala Lumpur from. He allegedly fled his country after the Saudi king ordered his arrest, said Twitter users.

His Twitter account appears to have been deleted.

Muslim-majority Malaysia does not have a formal extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia.

However, an official who did not wish to be named told the AFP news agency that Mr Kashgari could be extradited under other bilateral security agreements.

It was reported earlier that Interpol had sought the journalist’s arrest, but a spokesman denied Interpol’s involvement in the case.
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And Washington Post’s:

Saudi writer Hamza Kashgari faces charge of blasphemy after tweets about Muhammad

By David Keyes, Published: February 10

David Keyes is executive director of the New York-based organization Advancing Human Rights and co-founder of CyberDissidents.org. His e-mail address isdavid.keyes@advancinghumanrights.org

Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari was detained in Malaysia on Wednesday night and is likely to be extradited soon to Saudi Arabia, where he will be tried for blaspheming religion. Kashgari, 23, had fled the kingdom Monday after he received thousands of death threats. His crime? He posted on Twitter a series of mock conversations between himself and the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

“On your birthday I find you in front of me wherever I go,” he wrote in one tweet. “I love many things about you and hate others, and there are many things about you I don’t understand.”

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His tweets, in Arabic:

Hamza Kashgari's tweets

He is expected to face very strict Saudi laws against blasphemy.

It was made to understand Kashgari’s detention was made at the request of one of a high member of the Saudi ruling family. The past 24 hours, Royal Malaysian Police have been questioning him.

Sources from the Home Ministry said Kashgari has been suspected with linkages to the most wanted global terrorist group, Al Qaeda. A big part of the investigation also believed to be centred on the psy-war that has been created from the blasphemous tweets against Prophet Muhammad. Muslims worldwide are easily angered for such blasphemous acts.

Malaysia takes anti-terrorist activities seriously and lately several regional linked terrorists have been detained under the Internal Security Act (ISA).

Kashgari’s return to Saudi authorities is made upon the request of the same member of the Saudi royal family. If it is true that Kashgari is linked to Al Qaeda, then the Saudis are dealing on the matter without the US intervention.

*Updated 1400rs

Wanted jour no Mohamad Najeeb A Kashgari, who is also known as Hamza Kashgari, was deported back to Saudi upon the demands of high ranking Saudi authorities. Home Minister Dato’ Seri Hishamuddin Hussein broke silence and gave a statement on the deportation.

Published: Sunday February 12, 2012 MYT 12:53:00 PM
Updated: Sunday February 12, 2012 MYT 1:58:08 PM

Hishammuddin: Saudi columnist will be repatriated

KUALA LUMPUR: Saudi Arabian newspaper columnist Mohammad Najeeb A. Kashgari will be repatriated, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

The nature of the charges against Kashgari are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities to decide, he added.

“Malaysia has a long-standing arrangement by which individuals wanted by one country are extradited when detained by the other, and Mohammad Najeeb A. Kashgari will be repatriated under this arrangement” Hishammuddin said in a statement Sunday.

The statement also confirmed the Malaysia Government’s detention Kashgari, 23, at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) last Thursday.

The detention was made at the request of the Saudi Arabia authorities.

The columnist was said to have infuriated Saudi Arabians for posting a series of tweets on Prophet Muhammad’s birthday last week.

This resulted in Twitter registering nearly 30,000 tweets on the topic in less than 24 hours.

Some clerics have called for the columnist’s death. Blasphemy is punishable by death under Saudi laws.

Following Kashgari’s detention, international groups have urged Malaysia to refrain from sending him back to his home country.

Malaysia does not have a formal extradition treaty with Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, AFP reported that Malaysia had deported Kashgari on Sunday, according to a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

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In Saudi, Muslims demanded that Kashgari be brought home to face the music.

Worshippers want Kashgari punished

By ARAB NEWS

Published: Feb 12, 2012 01:45 Updated: Feb 12, 2012 01:45

MAKKAH: Imams of mosques in Makkah were unanimous in their Friday sermons on the necessity of bringing Saudi columnist and writer Hamza Kashgari to justice for making insulting comments about the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) on Twitter.

Kashgari fled to Malasyia after realizing that the deletion of his slanderous comments and the repentance he had announced in his tweets were not enough to save his neck. He was arrested on arrival at Kuala Lumpur airport on Thursday.

Worshippers, many of them in tears, were in agreement with their imams calling for bringing Kashgari to justice for his blasphemous tweets about the Prophet, local daily Al-Eqtisadiah reported Saturday. The article said the worshippers expressed happiness over the government’s move to arrest the blogger and bring him to justice.

The Malaysian police confirmed the arrest of Kashgari as part of an Interpol operation under the request of Saudi Arabia but did not disclose if he would be extradited to his country.

The imams and the worshipers strongly denounced the slanderous comments against the Prophet and said anyone who dared to badmouth the Prophet should be severely punished to deter others from doing the same.

Some of the imams dedicated their entire Friday sermon to attacking the blogger and calling for his trial, while others strongly warned against insulting the Prophet in words or deeds. Some of the imams were not able to hold back their tears while defending the Prophet, recalling verses from the Qur’an warning against attacking Allah or His Prophet.

“The unison between the imams and the worshipers against this heinous act is a crystal-clear indication that attacking the Prophet is a red line no one should cross or come close to,” a worshiper said. He did not want to be identified.

A number of worshipers said they were determined to file lawsuits against Kashgari in Shariah courts calling for his execution on charges of apostasy.

The 23-year-old Kashgari has become notorious overnight because of his sacrilegious tweets he had later deleted. Various sections of Saudi society have been asking for his immediate trial. A number of Saudis have also called for the trail of all those who tweeted support for Kashgari saying they were equally guilty.

“Those who supported the contents of Kashgari’s tweets are considered criminal exactly like him,” said Khaled Abu Rashid, a lawyer and a legal consultant. He said the sentence to be passed on Kahgari should be imposed on his supporters too.

The lawyer, however, said it was important to use the written texts to differentiate between two things in this case. “If the support was for general principles like freedom of expression, then this is a different matter but if the support was for the attacks against Allah and His Prophet, then the supporters should be tried for apostasy,” he explained.

Abu Rashid said the court should use the text of the tweets to decide the nature of the support.

The newspaper noted that a number of well-known people and bloggers from Saudi Arabia and abroad were quick to lend their passionate support to Kashgari but said most of the supporters tried to downplay his crime. On the other hand, bloggers from a number of Arab and Islamic countries called for the execution of Kashgari for mocking Allah, His Prophet and the religion.

Individual and collective calls were made to the Prosecution and Investigations Commission to try Kashgari and all the bloggers who supported him in his blasphemy.

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Blasphemy is a capital punishment in Muslim orthodox Saudi Arabia.

One interesting note, former Bar Council President Ambiga Sreenivasan made a controversial statement in the tweets for the deportation of Kashgari. She asked Malaysian Government to meddle against the strict orthodox Islamic Saudi and not send Kashgari back, without the opportunity of legal access.

Ambiga's tweet to Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein

Malaysia respect strict Islamic laws of Saudi Arabia. Kashgari being a Saudi national, journo and social media practitioner should have understood what his tweets could do and how it would affect him.

Then again, Ambiga even as the Bar Council President never had respect for the administration of Islam in this country, which is deemed far more moderate compared to Saudi. She made no qualms in her position on the Lina Joy case where a Muslim born Malay applied for her religion to be struck off in the registration as she wish to apostate and convert into Christianity.

Then there is her open support for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transvestite recently which angered Malaysian Muslim at large.

Credibility deficient news portal The Malaysian Insider reported that a local NGO Suaram obtained an interim court order to stop Kashgari’s deportation back to Saudi. However, they were to late to serve it to the authorities, which include the Royal Malaysian Police.

Court issues interim order to bar Saudi’s deportation, too late?

February 12, 2012

An official Saudi religious body declared Kashgari an apostate and he is likely to face a certain death upon his return to Saudi Arabia. – Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 — Malaysian human rights activists who won an interim court order are rushing to the airport to stop authorities from sending home a Saudi Arabian man to certain death.Mohammad Najeeb A Kashgari, also known as Hamza Kashgari, has been declared an apostate by a religious body in his home country and is likely to be sentenced to death for allegedly mocking Islam and Prophet Muhammad through his comments on Twitter.

It is considered blasphemous to insult the Prophet. Blasphemy is punishable by death in Saudi Arabia.

“Justice Rohana Yusuf just gave interim order to stop deportation of Hamza Kasgari, now on our way to serve order on police, immigration and home ministry [sic],” Suaram representative Fadiah Nadwa Fikri said in a text message to The Malaysian Insider today.

However, the action may be too late.

Citing an anonymous government official news agency AFP reported that Malaysian authorities have already deported Kashgari earlier today.

A Twitter user who goes by the name Zahra F Alsaud said in her account posted about 3pm Malaysian time that “Hamza Kashgari has been deported from Malaysia. He was picked up by Saudi officials at the airport.”

Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein reported that the nature of the charges against Kashgari are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities to decide and that Malaysian authorities would be repatriating him.

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Malaysia took the serious stance on the deportation as Kashgari has been investigated with linkages to terrorist group Al Qaeda and the authorities make no compromise in entertaining request to deport aliens, in the name of anti terrorism activities. The anger created by Kashgari’s tweets should also be considered as cyber-terrorism against Islam and Malaysia took the stand of Saudi knows best how to deal with such individuals.

This serves as a stern warning to other individuals who are out to create trouble elsewhere that this nation cannot provide even temporary sanctuary for what ever their justification is.

Published in: on February 12, 2012 at 00:01  Comments (15)