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Facebook Postings Lead To Arrest for Heresy In the West Bank 496

Posted by timothy
from the not-better-or-worse-just-different dept.
forand writes "Using screen shots of a customer's Facebook profile, owners of a West Bank internet cafe helped Palestinian intelligence forces capture a man accused of heresy." According to sources quoted in the story, residents of both Gaza and the West Bank face ongoing scrutiny of their online activities; in Gaza, "Internet cafe owners are forced to monitor customers' online activity and alert intelligence officials if they see anything critical of the militant group or that violates Hamas' stern interpretation of Islam."
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Facebook Postings Lead To Arrest for Heresy In the West Bank

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  • I am shocked. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by interkin3tic (1469267) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @02:16AM (#34213874)

    A mysterious blogger who set off an uproar in the Arab world by claiming he was God and hurling insults at the Prophet Muhammad is now behind bars — caught in a sting that used Facebook to track him down.

    I found myself surprised that Palestine is so easy to troll. Then I was even more surprised that I was surprised even for a second.

    Many in this conservative Muslim town say that isn't enough, and suggested he should be killed for renouncing Islam. Even family members say he should remain behind bars for life.

    I have never respected trolls before, but I guess there's a first time for everything. If he does get executed, someone should really saint him. Pastafarians maybe.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by trum4n (982031)
      "Even family members say he should remain behind bars for life." Islam is the troll here.
  • Barbarians... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by VirginMary (123020) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @02:16AM (#34213878)

    ...is what they are! This shows how dangerously crazy these people are. They are the enemies of freedom like all religious fanatics! Anybody who thinks people should be locked up for life or even murdered because of antireligious religious statements are people that are enemies of western values. The problem is that we have no good way of dealing with these lunatics when large parts of entire societies are thinking like this. It's like the West in the Middle Ages.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2010 @02:21AM (#34213896)

      I agree, Mary. By the way, you doing anything for dinner tonight?

      Sincerely,
      God

    • Re:Barbarians... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Alwin Henseler (640539) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @02:44AM (#34214004) Homepage

      The problem is that we have no good way of dealing with these lunatics when large parts of entire societies are thinking like this.

      Sure there is: separation. If you happen to live in a western democracy, don't let your freedoms slip away. Make sure your democracy stays one (as in eternal vigilance). Don't vote for people who want to remove personal freedoms or democratic rights. If you vote for someone & they do, don't vote for them again. Ever. Period.

      If people in other countries want to subject themselves to religious law, let them. If that makes them 'lose contact' with the rest of the world, and economic consequences puts them back in the middle ages, that's mostly their problem. If they do want to join the rest of us: shape up in the personal freedoms / democratic department first. In the mean while, they can take the freedoms that my ancestors fought for, from my cold, dead hands.

      • by tftp (111690)

        If you vote for someone & they do, don't vote for them again.

        Those lying politicians are expendable like ammo rounds in a belt-fed machine gun, and just as plentiful. Sure, you won't vote for that one any more, but there are twenty more waiting to replace him. And each politician chips another speck of freedom away. Give them time and nothing will remain.

        If they do want to join the rest of us: shape up in the personal freedoms / democratic department first.

        The most modern theory of political corr

    • by Lord Kano (13027)

      It's like the West in the Middle Ages.

      An amazing reversal, no?

      LK

    • Re:Barbarians... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2010 @02:56AM (#34214028)

      "... antireligious religious statements are people that are enemies of western values. ..."

      Are you so sure that "western values" are that much better? There are far too many people in "western culture" promoting "western values" who sincerely believe that "western values" dictate an implicit Judeo-Christian underpinning to government and law, and that everyone else deserves to die, or at least be subjugated.

      I think we need to coin the phrase "MODERN values" as something which goes beyond "western", "eastern", "southern" or "northern" values (notice how some of those don't really evoke any specific meaning?). This new phrase would embody the implicit expectation of freedom FROM religion -- more than the current standard freedom OF religion. It's a fallacy that everyone has to choose sides amongst the various bronze-age sky-god belief systems.

      • The reason why we call them "Western values" is because, like it or not, but humanism (which is a foundation of them) as a coherent philosophy is a Western development. It does not necessarily imply choosing sides etc.

      • Re:Barbarians... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by molnarcs (675885) <molnarcs AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday November 13, 2010 @04:16AM (#34214240) Homepage Journal
        I think "western values" are too loaded, as you say, it often implies Judeo-Christian underpinnings. Question is, can we define universal human values, and if so, what rights and wrongs should we include. Years back I read a book by Emmanuel Levinas. The most difficult book I ever read in my life. He tried to define the very basics of ethics, that is, the desire to do good (the desire to do good is a simple definition of ethics, but it's harder to define the specifics).

        One thing that Levinas defines as universally bad is "causing suffering and humiliation" (unwanted of course, BDSM folks are obvious exceptions). But in this case, this is not enough. One might claim that the offending facebook post caused him undue mental torment. Levinas also has a positive definition of ethics. As I said, "Totality and Infinity" is one of the most difficult books I ever read, so this short summary doesn't do justice for its complexitiy and richness. However, I'll try.

        Basically, he says that we have to have an infinite desire for the Other - which includes the desire for the Other's otherness as well. Sounds redundant, I know, but bear with me for a moment. This desire has two components, one is the desire to know (that is, basic human curiousity) and the other is the desire to preserve the otherness of the Other. An opposing movement is what he calls a totalizing movement. He defines it by the presumption that we can have total knowledge of the Other, that is, we can strip the Other of all it's secrets, achieving a total knowledge of the other (therefore robbing it from it's very otherness: once we believe that our knowledge of the other is Total, the image we have and It becomes the same). At this point he introduces the metaphor of the Face of the Other, and the movement towards the other as communication (we question the other to know more). In fact, he says that this otherness is the very basis of communication - once the Other has no secrets, there isn't much to talk about. Therefore we question the Other to know more (curiousity) but also question the totality of our knowledge at every point, simultaneously possessing the desire to preserve some measure of otherness.

        I know all this seems far fetched, but the point, I believe, is that curiousity is one leg on which ethical behaviour stands on, the other being not only a respect for the otherness of the Other, but even love for this otherness, that feeds back to our own curiosity, keeping the discourse on going. The first step of every authoritarian entity is to deny the possiblity of discourse, to forbid language so to speak, the very means by which otherness can be expressed, approached, and cherished.

        Levinas himself was religious (jew) - but interestingly, according to his own tenets, one can deduce that religions in general are totalizing - they do not allow for an infinite universe. Well, of course I don't know all religions, but let's just say that all religions that pose an entity that possesses a totality of knowledge, an All Knowing God are by nature totalizing. In an infinite universe, such totality is impossible. In fact, the very definition of infinity is something beyond (+1), something that is not part of the totality of any system. The Other's secret that must be preserved as well as approached via discourse.

        Anyway, I'm not sure this all makes sense to anybody, but if you want to read an intellectually challenging book, I highly recommend Totality and Infinity. As far as I know, it's one of the very few attempts to define ethics in absolute terms... most of what we consider "western values" are relativistic, their truth(s) easily traced back to a very specific context, to an ontology.

    • Re:Barbarians... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mindcontrolled (1388007) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @04:07AM (#34214222)
      It is not that simple, I am afraid. Religion is but a tool of control here. Get those guys off religion and they will act like before, just basing their crap on "racial supremacy", "manifest destiny" or some other bullshit along this lines.

      We, ourselves, are not free from this. Look at the amount of "kill brown people" posts that topics like this brings up every time on slashdot. The true root of barbarism is an unreflected "We are different, therefore you are inferior". This mechanism exists entirely independent of religion, though I agree that religion mostly does not help.
    • Re:Barbarians... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Smiths (460216) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @04:28AM (#34214282)

      Western values?

        haha.

      Like the West in the Middle Ages? Not now?

      I love how apparently the West now has a peaceful culture. The past 500 years of genoicde and slavery apparently dont count ..those 2 countries we're occupying now, you know us peaceful Westerns with the nuclear weapons, who have 700 miltary bases and who spend a trillion dollars on weapons were peaceful...its those muslims...they're the ones trying to take over the world!

      really? Do you actually believe what you're saying? Please a read a world history. Try RM Roberts...read it from cover to cover, get some perspective

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by X0563511 (793323)

        When's the last time someone was jailed in the US for saying bad things about Jeebus?

        Certainly you wouldn't have quite so many calling for indefinite imprisonment (or death) for such a little thing.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by t2t10 (1909766)

      The problem is that we have no good way of dealing with these lunatics when large parts of entire societies are thinking like this. It's like the West in the Middle Ages.

      We do have a good way of dealing with these lunatics--don't deal at all with them. The problem of the West vs. Islamic fundamentalists is just that these people are sitting on oil. If it weren't for that, we could just break off relations and let them figure it out for the next few centuries. Instead, we dirty ourselves by dealing with t

    • Re:Barbarians... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by KeensMustard (655606) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @08:16AM (#34214920)

      Anybody who thinks people should be locked up for life or even murdered because of antireligious religious statements are people that are enemies of western values.

      What western values wold those be then? The values that allow us to invade other countries, killing 10's of thousands, just so rich old men can be richer, and then pass it off a few years later as an unfortunate mistake (haha! oops!) and let's never mentioned that again? Have we advanced beyond barbarism ourselves? What's the difference? And what's the difference between their fanatics and our own secular fanatics - you know, the ones who will not permit anything to be done about climate change because it might cost us money Do you imagine our crimes to be less barbarous, our fanaticism less damaging then theirs?

  • by pete6677 (681676) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @02:21AM (#34213898)

    I'm glad to know that this is the kind of freedom the brave Palestinian fighters are fighting Israel for. To have a Taliban lifestyle imposed on themselves.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DSS11Q13 (1853164)
      Having lived in the West Bank, I can tell you this is a Hamas thing, in the Gaza Strip. Probably exercised by very low tech protocols of literally having the netcafe owner tell the police. The West Bank leadership is also completely different, and I am extremely skeptical that there is any kind of internet monitoring there. There isn't enough organization to get internet to many places, let alone have technology and infrastructure sophisticated enough to monitor it. Now the Israelis on the other hand...
    • Thing is, they get that whether they're economically and militarily oppressed or not. Actually, if they weren't, they might not have voted Hamas in in the first place. So maybe they wouldn't.
      • by Sun (104778) <shachar@shemesh.biz> on Saturday November 13, 2010 @03:24AM (#34214102) Homepage

        Actually, if they weren't, they might not have voted Hamas in in the first place.

        A common misconception. Hamas was voted in not because of the anti-Israel agenda, but because they promised to fight the extremely corrupt Fatah regime that preceded it. That was the focus of their election campaign, and that was what actually got them the votes. That would have happened whether they were oppressed (with or without quotes) or not.

        Shachar

    • by Greyfox (87712) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @03:38AM (#34214136) Homepage Journal
      I am reminded of a passage from the Principia Discordia:

      A SERMON ON ETHICS AND LOVE

      One day Mal-2 asked the messenger spirit Saint Gulik to approach the Goddess and request Her presence for some desperate advice. Shortly afterwards the radio came on by itself, and an ethereal female Voice said YES?

      "O! Eris! Blessed Mother of Man! Queen of Chaos! Daughter of Discord! Concubine of Confusion! O! Exquisite Lady, I beseech You to lift a heavy burden from my heart!"

      WHAT BOTHERS YOU, MAL? YOU DON'T SOUND WELL.

      "I am filled with fear and tormented with terrible visions of pain. Everywhere people are hurting one another, the planet is rampant with injustices, whole societies plunder groups of their own people, mothers imprison sons, children perish while brothers war. O, woe."

      WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH THAT, IF IT IS WHAT YOU WANT TO DO?

      "But nobody Wants it! Everybody hates it."

      OH. WELL, THEN STOP.

      At which moment She turned herself into an aspirin commercial and left The Polyfather stranded alone with his species.

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @02:35AM (#34213974) Journal

    This is not an issue specific to PA territories: in any islamic country you would be screwed if you logged in to Facebook as God and criticized islam. The same would have happened in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey etc. Sadly, the problem is with islamism (and maybe with islam).

    • by glwtta (532858) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @02:42AM (#34213992) Homepage
      Sadly, the problem is with islamism (and maybe with islam).

      The problem is with theocratic governments, it doesn't matter in the least what the actual religion is.
      • The problem is with theocratic governments, it doesn't matter in the least what the actual religion is.

        Sure it does. When the religion has a set of laws that are supposed to be divine and therefore immutable, and said laws prescribe various gruesome forms of corporal punishment and execution, the problem is with the religion. Spain under Franco also had a very real state church, but they didn't stone people to death for adultery.

      • by brit74 (831798) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @03:55AM (#34214196)
        The problem is with theocratic governments, it doesn't matter in the least what the actual religion is.

        You know that Islam doesn't recognize the separation of church and state, don't you? In the early years, the entire domain of Islam was ruled by a caliphate, which is essentially the pope and king rolled into one. I'm afraid that Islamic areas are always going to run into this problem because of the bad precedent set early in Islam's history - when church and state were one entity, and presumably, that's the way "God wanted it". The only hope is that people become so modernized that they stop caring about trying to recreate the imaginary golden-age of Islam.
        • by makomk (752139) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @06:57AM (#34214726) Journal

          You know that Islam doesn't recognize the separation of church and state, don't you?

          Neither do mainstream forms of Judaism, and a lot of really influential branches of Christianity in the US - especially the fundamentalist ones - don't either. In practice, this manifests itself as the incorporation of large chunks of Jewish religious law into state law in Israel and systematic, organised attempts to create a religious state in the US by powerful groups linked to the Republican party.

          Actually, what's odd about Islam is that Muslims, like Christians, are generally supposed to recognise and obey the laws of the state. (What's even weirder is that in theory Jews aren't meant to recognise the laws or courts of non-Jewish states in which they reside. In practice this is generally ignored, with the odd exception. For example, the reason that sharia courts are legal here in the UK is because of a law created to allow the establishment of Jewish religious courts. The reason we can't change the law to stop sharia courts is because the Jewish population will kick up a fuss, not the Muslims.)

    • by MoonBuggy (611105)

      It's not the particular religion that's the issue, it's the development level of the countries. I'm too lazy to elucidate the whole argument right now, but in a nutshell: look at the extreme forms of Christianity practised by some in Africa.

      • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @03:34AM (#34214126) Journal

        It's not the particular religion that's the issue, it's the development level of the countries. I'm too lazy to elucidate the whole argument right now, but in a nutshell: look at the extreme forms of Christianity practised by some in Africa.

        And yet the development level of Saudi Arabia - one of the strictest practitioners of Sharia in its most extreme, literalist forms - is way above many Latin American countries, for example; and yet the latter do not stone people to death for homosexuality, or amputate hands and feet for theft. Ditto for Iran.

      • by x_IamSpartacus_x (1232932) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @03:42AM (#34214150)
        Apparently you're also too lazy to educate yourself on Christianity in Africa as well. I live in Mozambique, have lived in Botswana, Angola, Namibia and South Africa and traveled extensively to all of their neighbors. I can tell you that nowhere in (at least southern and east) Africa is there Christian oppression like this. There are many many people who are critical of Christianity in all of those southern African countries and there are no consequences like this in the least. Sure all of these countries have their problems but nothing in this vein.
        Honestly, the only time you'll run into religious oppression like this is from muslim communities. Mozambique has a large muslim population (especially the north of the country) and there are many people who are oppressed because of their decisions to leave islam there.
        I think islam has specific tendencies that lead to specific abuses. I think christianity has specific tendencies that lead to specific abuses. They often overlap but in this area they don't. At the core of each religion, neither promotes these tendencies or abuses. Yet because people get corrupt and are power-hungry you get wild derivations from central ideas in a religion. For example, for some reason, christian leaders who get large followings, often end up taking advantage financially of their followers who come looking for a blessing of some kind (healing, personal financial blessing, etc.) and I've never seen that in islam. Islam, by contrast, when embraced at a government level tends to overbear followers and suppress voluntary belief or non-belief. Neither religion teaches these things in their basics yet men (usually not women) who end up in religious leadership often abuse those they lead.
    • by Animats (122034)

      The same would have happened in Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey etc.

      Turkey, no; Turkey's government is officially secular. Indonesia, quite possibly, depending on the province. Syria, probably, although it matters whether the person saying it is Islamic, and there are multiple court systems. Saudi Arabia, definitely yes.

    • Do you really think that the secular democracies in Indonesia and Turkey are in the same extremist basket as the Saudi kingdom and Syrian dictatorship?
    • by bmo (77928) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @03:44AM (#34214156)

      Sadly, the problem is with islamism (and maybe with islam).

      No, the problem is with god botherers in general.

      You forgot to include Ireland up there in your list. You can be fined 25,000 euros if you renounce the Sacraments, etc.

      Here in the States, there are people clamoring to bring our country into some sort of religious theocratic throwback to the 12'th century. Some of them even sponsor "prayer breakfasts" for our esteemed legislators.

      Google "Dominionism" and "The Family" (The so-called "Christian" group that incited Uganda to kill gays), Focus on the Family, Christian Coalition, etc.

      Talibanistic fundamentalism is only just below the surface just about everywhere. It only takes a little bit of tipping the table to have it spring full force to the surface.

      --
      BMO

  • Those who want peace with others must first make peace with themselves.

  • by Smiths (460216) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @03:56AM (#34214202)

    Meanwhile a family was evacuated from his house in Jerusalem where he lived for 30 years to make way for a settler family last week. A peaceful protest was broken up in Bil’in by tear gas and riot police.
    Extremist settlers burned a Jerusalem church
    Settlers spray graffiti on mosque in Nablus,
    run over a man in Qalqiliya,
    attack a teenager in Hebron
    and the IDF assasinates two people in Gaza last week

    but what do we read about that in the US? No, of course not. That would be too much reality for Americans. Instead we get a story about how those Hamas fiends are cracking down on the internet cafes. We get stories about bad the Iranians are to their women. Its as if they only perspective we get is one that shows us that these 'people' have a archaic, violent culture....ignore the 60 year occupation, ignore the two wars that US just launched over there, lets pick apart and find fault in THEIR culture. They're the violent people! Yeah right...

    Theres a great film on You Tube called 'Planet of the Arab', check it out sometime.

    http://mondoweiss.net/

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 13, 2010 @05:16AM (#34214418)

      "ignore the two wars that US just launched over there"

      The US is in Iraq & Afghanistan. This atheist blogger incident took place in the West Bank. I feel like you're trying to be misleading when you deliberately confuse these two pieces of information or try to turn into a "West vs Arab" attack comment.

      This isn't some childish game where both parties can erase their crimes by making longer lists of the other side's faults. If person A steals 5 cars, person B doesn't get a free pass to steal 4 cars and yell like a crazy person when they get caught and always trying to deflect attention to person A's crime. Both are guilty of what they have done wrong.

      You seem to have forgotten this. And I feel like you're trying to deceive me.

      • by Smiths (460216) on Saturday November 13, 2010 @06:09AM (#34214592)

        I am not trying decieve you.

        re-read the comments...90% of them didn't comment on the West Bank..they went off about 'how Islam is dangerous and bad' and 'its not compatible with the West' blah, blah....

        there is memme thats been building in the US, especially in the past year about how threatening Islam is to us! That doesnt stand up to scrunity of History..be in the far past or recent events.

        It only serves to demonize the people we have gone or will go to war with...

        Whether this is how America is going to collectively deal with the hangover from Iraq or whether its purposeful seeds being planted for a war with Iran....I dont know.

        You should consider this whenever you read the news. Before it was the muslims it was Commies, then it was Yellow Peril, then it was remember the Maine and on and on....

        Right now there is a poster in Times Square about Iran and how we shouldnt let them get a nuclear
        weapon. Somebody paid a lot of money for that ad, yet they seemingly arent selling anything. Why? Whats in it for them?

        Not to ramble, but when I see a story about how Hamas is abusing Palestenians, and I see the knee jerk reactions from people. I wonder what would be the reaction if 100X other stories I know happened there, that I read about on mondoweiss.net were more distributed? And how come I never see those stories outside of niche blogs? Why are the only stories the ones that make it to wider public ones that make the muslims seem barbaric?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by HertzaHaeon (1164143)
      While I agree about the one-sidedness of news, in this specific case I think you're doing what many muslim governments are accused of doing — distracting people from a serious issue with another one. Internal atrocities are overshadowed by the atrocities of your enemy, real or imagined. Inform people about the other issues, fine, but not as a counterargument to this issue. It does neither of them justice.

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