Lawyers for Liberty are pissed

At Malaysia’s Home Minister, for one.

Lawyers for Liberty is simply astonished and outraged at Home Minister Hishamuddin Hussein and PDRM’s continuing attempt to spin further lies and deceit over the illegal and unconstitutional detention and deportation of Hamza Kashgari by now alleging or insinuating that he is a “criminal” or “terrorist” wanted by his home country.

The truth is Hamza had sent a few tweets on the Prophet Muhammad which he has since deleted and apologized. It must be noted a similar poem on the prophet was published on his blog a year ago but did not receive any negative reaction from anybody. More importantly, he belongs to a group of emerging young pro-democracy activists which among others had supported the Arab Spring. Just days before he fled Saudi Arabia, the police stopped him and his group of young activists from organizing a series of forums to show solidarity with the Syrian uprising. He has also been said to have been monitored by the Saudi Intelligence more than 8 months ago.

The cold hard truth is that Malaysia has bent over backwards to please Saudi Arabia, breached international law by not allowing Hamza to seek asylum and instead handed him on a silver platter to his persecutors and condemned him to torture and near certain death.

Keep the pressure on. Make it hot for them.

 

Interpol as theocracies’ little helper

Interpol has said it had nothing to do with the extradition of Hamza Kashgari, but Dennis McShane MP apparently didn’t get the memo – or got the memo and didn’t believe it.

The charge of apostasy was maintained, his home was attacked and, again, sensibly enough, Kashgari decided it was time to leave Saudi Arabia. The response of the Saudis was to approach Interpol and ask them to issue an international search and arrest warrant.

Interpol is meant to be tackle serious crime, not act as the little helper for régimes that want to kill journalists.

Maryam too finds the memo not entirely convincing:

If it says so – though I am skeptical especially since its has done this before.

In 2009, a number of us wrote to its office complaining about Iranian opposition leaders being included on its wanted list at the request of the Islamic regime of Iran!

McShane has suggestions:

Pressure is important. This time last year the Egyptian military police arrested an Egyptian blogger. Maikel Nabil. He was jubilant about the fall of Mubarak but as he saw the increasing role of the military he criticised the soldiers. A military tribunal sentenced him to three years in prison but an effective international campaign got under way and on Saturday I got a letter from the Egyptian ambassador announcing that Nabil has been freed and pardoned.

So once again it is time to write to the Saudi Ambassador, and to William Hague so that our Ambassador in Riyadh can make protest. The Commonwealth Secretary General should get involved to as it is to Malaysia’s shame that they send this harmless young man to the possibility of a dusty public square and the executioner’s sword. The Home Secretary too should ask why Interpol is acting as an agent for the most blood-thirsty and cruel of régimes. Might Twitter pay for his legal defence. And when of our Royals takes tea with one of their Royals perhaps a few whispered words might be muttered about why in the 21st century Royals — Muslim, Christian, whatever —  should not chop off heads because of a tweet.

Known for his reformist views

PEN International on Kashgari.

PEN demands his immediate and unconditional release, in accordance with Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It also calls upon the Saudi authorities to provide him with immediate and effective protection.

According to PEN’s information, Kashgari, a 23-year-old writer from Jeddah, tweeted a series of messages addressed to the Prophet Mohammed on the anniversary of the Prophet’s birth on 4 February 2012, some of which conveyed questions about his faith. Twitter registered more than 30,000 responses to his tweets, many of which accused him of blasphemy and called for his death. On 5 February 2012 Nasser al-Omar, an influential cleric, called for Kashgari to be tried in a Sharia court for apostasy, which is punishable by death, and the Saudi King Abdullah called for his arrest, vowing to seek extradition if Kashgari left the country. On 6 February Kashgari issued an apology and deleted his feed, but to no avail. Someone posted his home address in a YouTube video, and people searched for him at his local mosque. On 7 February 2012, Kashgari fled to Malaysia. He was arrested two days later in Kuala Lumpur on 9 February as he was trying to continue his journey to New Zealand, where he planned to request asylum. He was deported to Saudi Arabia on 12 February 2012. [Read more...]

Those who are wanted by their countries of origin

Malaysia today is defending its extradition of Hamza Kashgari back to Saudi Arabia where he could easily be executed for saying he has questions about Mohammed.

International rights groups have slammed the deportation but Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia was not a safe haven for fugitives.

Jiddah-based newspaper columnist Hamza Kashgari, 23, was detained Thursday at the Malaysian airport while in transit to New Zealand. He was deported Sunday despite fears from rights groups that he may face the death penalty if charged with blasphemy over remarks he tweeted that many considered offensive.

“I will not allow Malaysia to be seen as a safe country for terrorists and those who are wanted by their countries of origin, and also be seen as a transit county,” Hishammuddin said.

“Those who are wanted by their countries of origin” is it. What if they are “wanted” by their countries of origin for being gay? For being critical of their government? For leaving the religion of their parents? For marrying without the permission of their parents? For not wearing the hijab? For using an electrical switch on “the sabbath”? For laughing at the wrong moment? For not bowing low enough?

Is there any reason too stupid, too vicious, too trivial, for a country to “want” people and Malaysia to obey that “want”?

Probably not, given the profound triviality and viciousness and stupidity of Saudi Arabia’s reasons for “wanting” Kashgari.

He said the deportation followed a request from the Saudi government. Allegations that Kashgari could be tortured and killed if he was sent back home are “ridiculous” because Saudi Arabia is a respectable country, he said.

Oh is it. Is it really. Tell that to foreign domestic workers there. Tell it to people executed for “adultery.” Tell it to women arrested for driving cars. Tell it to convicts sentenced to having their hands and feet amputated. Tell it to everyone who has been hassled by the Mutawwa’in.

Local rights group Lawyers for Liberty said Kashgari arrived in Malaysia on Feb. 7 from Jordan and was leaving the country two days later to New Zealand to seek asylum when he was detained.

“The cold hard truth is that Malaysia has bent over backwards to please Saudi Arabia, breached international law by not allowing (Kashgari) to seek asylum and instead handed him on a silver platter to his persecutors,” it said.

For shame, Malaysia.

Free Hamza Kashgari

You know the drill – same old same old. Join this Facebook group. You know the media report it when causes get big support on Facebook, so join. I added a few people, because you can’t just invite any more – but I’m shy about adding because it seems so presumptuous, so if I neglected to add you, add yourself. And all your friends. Don’t be shy!

And sign the petition.

And say harsh things about Malaysia as well as Saudi Arabia.

At Maryam’s place

Maryam’s post on the Free Expression Rally is up.

So is her post on Malaysia’s outrageous deportation of Hamza Kashgari.

Malaysia’s home ministry has said that ‘The nature of the charges against the individual in this case are a matter for the Saudi Arabian authorities’. Which basically means that any asylum seeker or refugee must be returned as it is a case for the government in question!?

Maryam is kept very busy by all these attacks on our right to say what we think.

Your personal freedom? You must be joking

A candidate for Egypt’s presidency by the name of Hazim Abu Ismail, “with affiliations to both the Muslim Brotherhood and the Salafis,” says how things are.

Host: You have already begun to try to impose a particular dress code for us.

Abu Ismail:  I’ve begun to? It’s the Lord of the Worlds [Allah] who said so. I have nothing to do with it!

Host: Allah left it for me to decide as a personal freedom.

Abu Ismail: Who said that?  Where’d you get that from. See, that’s the whole point: If you claim that Allah considers it your personal freedom, show me your reference? Nobody has ever said that – except for people have no understanding of Sharia.

Admirably blunt. Makes it very clear what is wrong with theocracy. It’s not the clerics or “scholars” who make these rules, it’s “the Lord of the Worlds” – who is not currently available, so the rules can’t be amended – nor, of course, can they be ignored. They can only be obeyed.

Host: So when He says “today I have perfected your religion for you” [Koran 5:3], He is only talking about the “creed.”

Abu Ismail:  Yes; for example, when you say “no coercion to join the Military Academy,” it means that you are free to join or not—but if you do join, then you are obliged to wear their uniform, to attend their classes, to attend the training with them, and to obey their leader.

Host: There is a problem here—shall I say to the unveiled woman who wants to avoid hijab that she should change her creed?

Abu Ismail: Exactly, bravo.  If she is a Muslim. You see, this is the difficulty; this is Islam.  Does she want to be a Muslim and not obey Allah’s rules? Let them say so; that’s all I ask; let them be honorable and just speak up.

What does he mean “Does she want to be a Muslim and not obey Allah’s rules?” What does wanting have to do with it? Most Muslims are simply born as such, and they are never given the opportunity to say they don’t want to be a Muslim and are therefore going to stop being one. It’s an incredibly obnoxious, taunting question. It’s like kidnapping someone and then asking, “Does she want to be kidnapped and not obey the kidnapper’s orders?”

What a joke: in one breath saying that order are orders, and they come from the Lord of the Worlds so they are absolute and permanent, and that people “want” to belong to this authoritarian system.

Behold, theocracy in action

Ann Marie Waters on last night at Queen Mary College.

This week I was due to give a talk to students at Queen Mary College, London on sharia law and human rights. Rather fittingly – and as if to prove my point – my human rights were quashed by a person demonstrating one of the effects of sharia law; the threat of violence for criticising religion.

Or to put it another way, both are instantiations of theocracy. Both are what you get when you have theocracy. You get god-centered everything, with humans expected to obey the imagined god slavishly and harsh punishments if someone thinks god is being defied.

Just before I was due to start, a young man entered the lecture theatre, stood at the front of the room with a camera and proceeded to film everyone in the audience. That done, he informed us that he knew who we were, where we lived and if he heard a single negative word about the Prophet, he would track us down. (I am told he made further threats as he left the building). [Read more...]

1 shut up. 2 shut up. 3 shut up.

Damn. Things have gone crazy – so crazy that it’s hard to keep up. Just to give you the bare list -

Salman Rushdie

will miss the opening day of the Jaipur literary festival, organisers say, after protests by influential Muslim clerics in India.

A talk on sharia and human rights

organised by the Atheism, Secularism and Humanism Society at Queen Mary, University London, had to be cancelled after threats of violence. The talk was due to be given by Anne Marie Waters of the One Law For All campaign, which campaigns against the use of Sharia in the UK.

Rhys Morgan was

called into a meeting with his head of year at his sixth form college, about the Jesus and Mo cartoon. He reports being harassed at school and being ostracized for posting the cartoon. He was later called in again to be told that they were considering expelling him if he didn’t take the cartoon down.

According to Rhys on Twitter a few minutes ago, they weren’t considering it; it was a certainty: take it down or you’re out.

Details to follow.