Many of the other FTBers have already written about this, and while I have little to add other than my own outrage, I want to make sure everyone has seen the story. A Saudi man was arrested in Malaysia and sent back to Saudi Arabia to face possible death over “blasphemous” Tweets about Muhammad.
A Saudi journalist was deported Sunday to his home country, where he was expected to face arrest and possibly death for writing about the Prophet Muhammad.
The journalist, Hamza Kashgari, had been detained by the Malaysian police since Thursday, when he was stopped at Kuala Lumpur International Airport at the request of the Saudi government. Mr. Kashgari, a newspaper columnist based in Jidda, had fled Saudi Arabia amid public outrage after he wrote about an imaginary meeting with the Prophet Muhammad in a series of posts on Twitter, according to news reports…
The Saudi king has reportedly called for his arrest, and many in the religiously conservative country have accused him of blasphemy, a capital offense in Saudi Arabia.
Muhammad Afiq Bin Mohamad Noor, the Malaysian lawyer hired by Mr. Kashgari’s family, said he obtained an interim court order from the Kuala Lumpur High Court on Sunday afternoon that would have prevented the authorities from deporting Mr. Kashgari. He only discovered later on Sunday, when he spoke to an immigration officer at the Kuala Lumpur airport, that Mr. Kashgari had already been deported on a private Saudi jet.
For some reason, that last part seems like a weird bit of dissonance in the story. They wanted him so badly that they sent a private jet to get him. Because of some Tweets. That’s just fucking sick, as is the whole thing. And you know what I don’t want to hear? Any bullshit about cultural relativism or how terribly unfair it is to “impose” our “Western values” on them. Kashgari is a human being, which means his liberty should be protected by governments, not destroyed by them. And that principle does not disappear just because it’s happening inside another border rather than ours.
If we do not take the normative position that human rights should be protected for all people, we’re just full of shit. That’s why it’s important to defend freedom for this man and condemn the barbaric ideology that may well put him to death and, at the same time, defend the freedom of Muslims in this country against the attempts by the Christian right to deny them their right to practice their religious. Not only are those two positions not contradictory, they are consistent and necessary.