Fatwa on Twitterer
Call me an old fashioned Behenji, but I genuinely believe that American and European ideas of free speech to harshly criticize religion will never work in India and most of the countries in Middle East and Asia. India has been blessed with many great religions – Hinduism, Islam, Christianity and many more, and anyone attacking their Gods and religious figures does it at great personal risk.
A Saudi Arabian journalist and writer, Hamza Kashgari, has discovered this at great personal cost. His Tweets reflecting on the anniversary of the Prophet have created a firestorm. The Saudi King has called for his arrest. Hamza has fled to Malaysia where he has been arrested, and he will never be able to work or have a normal life back in his home country.
American media organization Daily Beast has got an exclusive interview with Hamza Kashgari. An excerpt from the Daily Beast article
Last week, just before the anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad’s birth, Hamza Kashgari, a 23-year-old Saudi writer in Jidda, took to his Twitter feed to reflect on the occasion.
Twitter quickly flooded with responses to Kashgari, registering more than 30,000 within a day. He was accused of blasphemy, and enraged Saudis called for his death. By the time he removed the tweets and issued a long apology, backtracking on his comments and begging for forgiveness, the danger had already expanded beyond the Web. Someone posted Kashgari’s home address in a YouTube video, and, his friends say, vigilantes came looking for him at his local mosque. The Saudi information minister banned Kashgari’s local newspaper column and barred outlets across the country from publishing his work. Nasser al-Omar, an influential cleric, called for him to be tried in a Sharia court for apostasy, which is punishable by death. Other leading clerics decried Kashgari on their own, and Saudi Arabia’s council of senior scholars issued a rare and harshly worded communiqué condemning him and his tweets and demanding that he be put on trial. Yesterday, Saudi Arabia’s leading news site, SABQ, reported that the king himself had issued a warrant for Kashgari’s arrest.
Techgoss note: Techgirl is a senior Tech journalist who reports on the IT, KPO and KPO Sectors for a leading media house. In her spare time, she dabbles in satire in her blog techgirltalk.blogspot.com. Techgirl has been ejected from Twitter for satirizing an Indian Minister. Her satire blog has links to her Times of India interview detailing her being kicked out of Twitter, and then being invited back.