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.

Note especially that King Abdullah called for his arrest and swore to seek extradition if he escaped the country. “Reformist” King Abdullah.

It’s a great pity that Kashgari didn’t get a flight directly to New Zealand or at least to some secular country. It’s a great pity that he went first to Malaysia. I wonder if he had to for some reason – perhaps because he would have needed a visa for other countries.

Kashgari is a poet and former columnist with the daily newspaper Al Bilad, and he is known for his reformist views. On 7 February 2012 Al-Bilad issued statement saying that they had fired Kashgari five weeks earlier “because of the inadequacy of his general views for the approach of the newspaper.”

Yes because we can’t be having reformist views. All reform was accomplished by the prophet, so anything done after that is anti-the prophet and blasphemous and evil. Stasis is the only way to go.


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