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Feb 10 2012

In defence of Hamza Kashgari

I’ve received a number of calls and emails asking to help 23 year old Saudi journalist Hamza Kashgari.

Hamza’s a Muslim who has been forced to flee Saudi Arabia because his Tweets about Mohammad, Islam’s prophet, have been deemed to be offensive and blasphemous by Islamists calling for his head. The Saudi king has personally issued an order to bring him to ‘justice’ and Saudi clerics have demanded that he be prosecuted for ‘cursing the prophet’. If he is found guilty, he will most likely be executed.

As a result of threats to his life, including the publishing of his home address and personal contact details, Hamza has been forced to flee the country. En route to New Zealand where he hoped to apply for asylum, he was stopped and detained in Malaysia.

There are fears that he will be deported back to Saudi Arabia where he faces imprisonment and even execution for tweeting the below to mark Mohammad’s birthday:

“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.”

Though Hamza has apologised and ‘repented’, his life remains in danger.

It’s important that we support him and demand that he be granted protection.

Here’s what you can do:

Contact the UN High Commissioner for Refugees in Malaysia and ask that they immediately interview him and grant him protection. He cannot be returned to Saudi Arabia where he faces a well-founded fear of persecution.

Here’s their details:

UNHCR Representative
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
570, Jalan Bukit Petaling
50460 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 603 2141 1322
Fax: 603 2141 1780
Email: [email protected]

You can also sign this petition set up by one of Hamza’s friends.

You have got to do it now.

(Information via emails and phone calls from friends and supporters.)

36 comments

14 pings

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  1. 1
    Winterwind

    I have signed the petition and will send an email to the UN Commission. I will also write to my local MP.

  2. 2
    Hassan Radwan

    Apparently he’s been arrested in Malaysia and is in danger of being deported to Saudi Arabia where it seems they want to make an example of him.

    1. 2.1
      Maryam Namazie

      I’m trying to find a lawyer for him.

      1. mirax

        I dont know how to go about finding a good lawyer but two activist-lawyers, Malik Imtiaz Sarwar or Harris Ibrahim, might point you in the right direction.It is 3 am here in Singapore and I have no phone numbers for either men as I dont know them but here is Malik at twitter:

        http://twitter.com/malikimtiaz

        I can try to ring friends in KL in the morning to see if they can get phone numbers.

  3. 3
    Upright Ape

    Malaysia is a fascist country where freedom of conscience does not exist. The state will tell you what religion you will practice and “apostasy” is not tolerated.The danger to Hamza is very real.

  4. 4
    Rafiq Mahmood

    I am deeply concerned that apparently Interpol has been used to track and detain him. This is contrary to the Constitution of the organisation which must not “undertake any interventions or activities of a political, military, religious, or racial nature”.

    If this is so then it is extremely serious. The use of Interpol to enforce religious thought policing poses the gravest possible threat to all of us.

    It must be investigated and the regional offices brought to book if it has in fact been found that Interpol resources have been used in this way.

    Demand answers from the Secretary General, Ronald K Noble at Interpol HQ in Lyons.

    1. 4.1
      Martyn

      This, if true, is somewhat worrying indeed.

    2. 4.2
      Hassan Radwan

      Who do we contact to find out if this is the case?

      1. August Pamplona

        I’ve seen articles claiming that this is the case being attributed to the national news agency, Bernama.

        http://m.theaustralian.com.au/news/breaking-news/malaysian-police-detain-saudi-tweeter/story-fn3dxity-1226267953741

        http://malaysiasaya.my/saudi-writer-hamza-kashgari-arrested-in-malaysia

      2. August Pamplona

        They do have a “red list” and you cannot find him on it now but that does not mean that he was not findable there when he was arrested or that he’s not on the law enforcement only version of the list.

        http://www.interpol.int/Wanted-Persons

      3. August Pamplona

        Maybe I was not bonkers for also thinking this. It’s looking as if human rights groups & press outlets are starting to raise this issue:

        ‎”Malaysia does not have criminal apostasy laws and Kashgari has not violated Malaysian law, the lawyer said. He questioned the legality of Kashgari’s detention and any attempt to extradite him to Saudi Arabia. Malaysia and Saudi Arabia do not have an extradition treaty, Malaysian lawyers said, but it appears that Kashgari is being held based on a request from Saudi Arabia, which issued an arrest warrant for him.”

        http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/02/10/malaysia-don-t-send-saudi-back

        See also:
        http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/feb/10/interpol-journalist-arrested-muhammad-tweet?newsfeed=true
        and
        http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/290858/long-arm-saudi-blasphemy-laws-nina-shea

        Of course, the very real danger is that, for political reasons (13th general election which will probably take place this year), Hamza will still be extradited even if his arrest involved the improper involvement of Interpol and otherwise would have been groundless.

      4. August Pamplona

        The Secretariat General of Interpol can be reached at:
        http://www.interpol.int/Contact-INTERPOL

        INTERPOL
        General Secretariat
        200, quai Charles de Gaulle
        69006 Lyon
        France

        Fax: +33 (0)4 72 44 71 63

        There’s a web contact form but it was broken the last time I checked.

        They have improperly been used to execute an improper warrant. Realize, however, that, as far as I know, they do not have any power in and of themselves.

  5. 5
    Martyn

    Petition signed. Emails to follow.

    Thanks Maryam.

  6. 6
    his friend

    Please save him Saudi Arabia now want to put all his friends in a trail , they want to kill every one who support him oh Mariym plz this generation who know religion is stupid need your help he is the hope for us ! he is young !! this one said he will help him http://i44.tinypic.com/hx56ps.png

  7. 7
    mirax

    Malaysia pulled a very nasty trick by arresting Kashgari. I am afraid that international pressure may backfire as malaysians are in an election year and in recent years, islamic supremacism has soared to levels never witnessed before.Religion is used in very, very ugly ways in Malaysia. The UMNO bastards are going to grandstand on this issue.

  8. 8
    Headshot

    Hope you’re next fucking dirty whore

    1. 8.1
      Jen

      Wow…

    2. 8.2
      Musical Atheist

      I guess your face is blacked out in the ‘headshot’ to represent the black hole where your sense of common humanity ought to be.

      1. humanity?

        What is humanity? As a descendant of apes, I know of no humanity.

    3. 8.3
      Robert from NY

      All blogs have their moronic detractors.

      It’s a pity he chose this one, which has life and death as the outcome, to infect with his “wisdom”.

  9. 9
    Musical Atheist

    Have signed and sent email. The crime of expressing a thought. Terrifying.

  10. 10
    Musical Atheist

    And what beautiful words he spoke. What beautiful, clear, nuanced and loving thoughts have led to his persecution.

  11. 11
    shazaadibrahim

    The petition site says the petition is closed. Why so soon, and before they’ve even reached their target?

    1. 11.1
      Jet

      Yes, with only 7 to go it seems a shame. Who decides when to close one, and how?

    2. 11.2
  12. 12
    Sigmund

    The bbc reports that Malaysian authorities have sent him back to Saudi.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17001900

    1. 12.1
      Maryam Namazie

      Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

  13. 13
    Matt Sky

    Started another petition as the las one has filled up. If enough moderates speak out, perhaps there is hope for him. Twitter and The United States should publicly condemn any punishment as well. No one should be killed for a tweet.

    http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/hamzakashgari/

  14. 14
    Azli Jamil

    Petition is closed.
    I would have signed it.

  15. 15
    Timberwoof

    Hm. I just signed the petition.

    (Can the essentially content-free notifications that this blog has been linked elsewhere be blocked? They add nothing to the conversation.)

  16. 16
    Xavier Carrera

    I am looking for long time where to sign to try to protect the life of Hamza Kashgari.
    The petition which you link is closed. Is there another?

    Estoy buscando desde hace tiempo donde firmar para intentar proteger la vida de Hamza Kashgari.
    La petición que vinculas está cerrada ¿Hay otra?

    1. 16.1
      1. Xavier Carrera

        Gracias, ya firmé y está en mi facebook y en mi blog. No debemos olvidar a Hamza hasta que esté libre. Su libertad es la nuestra.
        Thanks, I signed and is on my facebook and my blog. We must not forget Hamza until it is free. Their freedom is our own.
        http://www.change.org/petitions/freedom-for-hamza-kashgari

  17. 17
    Xavier Carrera

    May be possible to have the arrabian version of the poem and his transcription?
    Thanks

  18. 18
    Lindsey Williams

    If there is an uprising in Saudia Araba, they will not be supported by the West nor by Europe. The Saudi Royal family will be treated as Ghadafi, Ben Ali, Mubarak, Al-Assad, and Saddam Hussein. Watch Syria – even British born, Mrs Al-Assad cannot enter the UK or Europe, her assets are frozen, and she cannot buy from Europe. She’s stuck in Syria. This is one of the consequences of their action.

    The second is a travel warning not to transit through Malaysia if a person is intending to claim asylum in another country.

    The third, the King of Saudia is now embarrased, as he is deemed powerless since he bowed to cleric request. How ironic is that? He may be kissing their hand too.

    Fourth, it has been suggested that westerns cannot invest in Saudia, since a person can be executed for any comment on facebook, twitter, journalist work, or statement posted on the internet.

  19. 19
    Xavier Carrera

    That the “best man” is in practice as sacred as Allah is actually a form of idolatry, but more than that. It is mind control. As would be punish people for criticizing Karl Marx or Hitler.
    A world dictatorship requires Ideology that the mental excuse. This has traditionally been a social function of religion as a regulator of heresy.
    Arabia Saudi have an no measurable power because is the geographic center of the cult. They Have the meteorite, which is in practice the idol that looks every Muslim planet.
    It’s scary that they can use to interpol and prosecute any person on the planet.

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