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Journalist Arrested By Interpol For Tweet 915

Posted by timothy
from the religious-practice-makes-perfect-slavery dept.
New submitter StarWreck writes "Police in Kuala Lumpur detained Hamza Kashgari, 23, 'following a request made to us by Interpol' on behalf of the Saudi authorities. Kashgari, a newspaper columnist, fled Saudi Arabia after posting a tweet which read: 'I have loved things about you and I have hated things about you and there is a lot I don't understand about you I will not pray for you.' Said tweet sparked outrage in Saudi Arabia and resulted in multiple death threats. Kashgari faces the death penalty in Saudi Arabia."
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Journalist Arrested By Interpol For Tweet

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @02:46PM (#39006503)

    Can someone enlighten me, please?

    • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @02:49PM (#39006531)

      The tweet was made on Muhammad's birthday. He was accused of apostasy as a result, an offense punishable by death in the muslim tradition.

      • by tonywong (96839) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @02:56PM (#39006575) Homepage
        Apparently the Saudis put out the warrant and the Malaysian authorities detained at the airport and are shipping him back. Apparently the Malaysians are really amenable to the foreign governments about extraditing and returning people, so even if this guy faces the death penalty the Malaysians just don't want to get in the middle of things.

        I guess the moral of the story is that if you are going to flee to another country, try some place like Canada or Sweden first.
      • by NIN1385 (760712) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @02:57PM (#39006601)
        This is exactly the type of extremism that turns me away from religion, and that applies to all forms of it. To threaten death, or other forms of punishment for saying something... I just have the feeling if God or Allah or whatever deity were to reveal them-self, or return to us or whatever they would probably be like: "WTF are you people doing?"

        Just my opinion though.
        • by Ethanol-fueled (1125189) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:08PM (#39006683) Homepage Journal
          One of my favorite readings about religion is Dostoevsky's The Grand Inquisitor, which is featured in The Brothers Karamazov. Basically, Jesus returns to earth in the midst of the Spanish Inquisition. He goes around and does his Jesus thing, giving sight to the blind and healing the sick. The church gets word of this and arrests Jesus, putting him in a holding cell and sentencing him to death.

          The Grand Inquisitor, knowing it's really Jesus, goes to Jesus' cell and asks him what the hell he's doing. Jesus wants to know why the church is treating him this way and the inquisitor says, "You're bad for business. Now that you're here, what the hell are we gonna do? Sorry man, it is in our best interests to make you disappear."

          Jesus, somewhat homoerotically, kisses the inquisitor on the cheek and says, "I love you, brother." The Inquisitor, very moved by the gesture, opens the cell and releases Jesus, saying, "Get the hell out of here, and don't come back." Jesus walked off into the darkness and was never heard from again.
        • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:14PM (#39006725)

          Such extremism isn't the sole domain of the religious, and I say that as an atheist. The assholes will always find some way to legitimize their assholeness, if not religion then some other idealogy like nationalism, racism, economics, etc.

          • by mosb1000 (710161) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:25PM (#39006829)

            The Bible describes this as idolatry. Basically, if you can take a concept and put it into a box, you can gain authority over the idea in people's minds and substitute your own voice for the idea. The Bible is actually a good example of this itself. Even though the Bible never actually claims to be the word of God (in fact, it never claims to be true or accurate either) pastors have an easy time holding it up as a physical manifestation of such ideas. Form there it's a fairly simple matter to pick and choose through it, adding their own words here and there, and presto! Suddenly they've got their own words accepted by people as being from God.

            The principle is easily applied elsewhere, and you see it all the time.

            • by TheABomb (180342) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:14PM (#39007225)

              Even though the Bible never actually claims to be the word of God (in fact, it never claims to be true or accurate either)

              Well, what does the Bible say on the subject?

              Every Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for instruction in righteousness,

              II Timothy 3:16 (WEB [ebible.org])

              Circular reasoning? yes. But it is all three of those things, right there in the text.

        • by maxwell demon (590494) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:15PM (#39006741) Journal

          This is exactly the type of extremism that turns me away from religion, and that applies to all forms of it.

          That's not specific to religion. If in the former Soviet Union you had said that you don't think communism is a good idea, your life wouldn't exactly have been safe either.

          • Depends... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by Kupfernigk (1190345) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:26PM (#39006837)
            A former colleague once spent six months in the Soviet Union as part of a technology project. One of the staff at the engineering company at which he worked was always pestering him about life in the West, asking questions and saying "isn't it true that such and such is much better than here in Russia". So he formulated the idea that this was some sort of KGB plant trying to get him into trouble so they could detain him.

            When the time came for him to leave they had a big party and he asked someone if this guy really worked for the KGB, only to get the reply "No, no, so-and-so is the KGB rep, he's OK, that other guy just thinks everything is better in the West and keeps trying to prove it to us."

            As my colleague remarked, imagine an American engineering company where one of the engineers kept trying to tell everybody that life was better in the Soviet Union. All right, he would be massively wrong, but he would also get fired very quick.

      • by K. S. Kyosuke (729550) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:09PM (#39006691)

        He was accused of apostasy as a result,

        In my country, apostasy from Islam is punishable by free beer!

      • by kheldan (1460303) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:41PM (#39006955) Journal
        I am angered, digusted, and offended in the utmost by this and all things like this I read. No one should ever be killed or maimed over mere words or ideas, and no alleged "god" deserves to be worshipped that would order it's followers to do such things! Come on, humans! Isn't it about time we gave up these barbaric ideas and just let people live their lives in peace!?
    • by SaXisT4LiF (120908) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:00PM (#39006617)
      According to the article, the tweet in question was a reference to the Prophet Muhammud. In some parts of the word, disavowing the religion of the majority (apostasy [wikipedia.org]) can be punishable by death. Interpol's compliance in this act violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [un.org], which Interpol itself is tasked with upholding by its constitution [interpol.int].
  • by RightSaidFred99 (874576) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @02:46PM (#39006505)

    And it's not just those backwards fools everyone in the middle east talks about. There are upstanding, progressive regimes in Europe where there are literally things you can say that don't involve a threat of violence or which won't cause immediate danger to those around you ("I'm going to kill you!" or "Fire!") which are still considered illegal.

    It's cute because these same nations are held up by many as paragons of virtue in terms of human rights, health care, standard of living, etc... Just don't voice an illegal opinion and you'll be fine, that's all.

    • by jamstar7 (694492) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @02:57PM (#39006605)
      Musta been the 'I won't pray for you' bit that got him in hot water. Can't go wrong when you pay lip service to the local gods, ya know.

      Prob is, figuring out which are the local gods. Course, the Saudis are a bunch of nutjobs. They produced a shitpile of mujihadeem in Afghanistan back when they 'were on our side' fighting the Soviets. If they didn't have oil, we'dve dropped the Saudis like a hot rock.
    • by Old VMS Junkie (739626) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:02PM (#39006643)
      There's a big difference between threats or statements that might endanger the safety of others and someone stating their feelings towards a religious figure. Just another sign of the Muslim world's complete intolerance, total lack of religious freedom, and complete lack of respect for human life and dignity.
  • Bad title. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @02:48PM (#39006521)

    Interpol has no "officers" to arrest anyone. It is a multinational organization that facilitates the sharing of info, and arrest warrants, between countries. Here, Saudi Arabia sent out an arrest warrant to Interpol and Interpol transmitted it to police in Kuala Lumpur. The police in Kuala Lumpur arrested. Interpol is just a middle man. We can argue whether it's good or bad (probably both), but Interpol doesn't "arrest" anybody and they didn't force the Lumpurian authorities to arrest. Interpol can't force the police of any State to act. Kuala Lumpur probably doesn't care about this guy and figured better relations with Saudi Arabia is more important.

    • Re:Bad title. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Teun (17872) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:11PM (#39006703) Homepage
      By their own rules Interpol is not supposed to intervene on the grounds mentioned.

      The fact Saudi Arabia has an inhumane legal system is widely known and as long as we want their oil it is not likely to change, but Interpol has done something against the moral values enshrined in their own constitution and the persons responsible should be challenged.

      • Re:Bad title. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by khallow (566160) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:43PM (#39006973)

        and as long as we want their oil it is not likely to change

        Oil doesn't change human nature. It's not a magical substance that makes people evil. Nor is the Saudia Arabian government unusually bad in some way. It'd be considered an enlightened and open government for the 16th century. But as you have no doubt noticed, it's no longer the 16th century. What has changed is our expectations from government.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @02:53PM (#39006555)

    The US Demanded that Interpol Arrest all the millions of citizens of the world who have at some time or another demanded 'Death to the US'. They even cited a number of people who led the demonstrations against the Vietnam war in the late 1960's.

    Ok, so I'm joking but it shows how absurd this is.

    I'll be waiting for a knock at the door and my speedy extradition to the USA where no doubt I'll get 999 years in Jail for daring to criticise the USofA.
       

  • by Nidi62 (1525137) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @02:53PM (#39006561)
    From what I understand, Interpol does not arrest, they simply forward arrest warrants from member states. They don't even judge the merits of the warrants sent to them, they are assumed to be legitimate (as this probably was under Saudi Law). Regardless of cases such as this, Interpol is a very important agency in that it allows for cooperation between law enforcement agencies across the country, and keep criminals from simply skipping the country and getting off scott free.
    • by Blue Stone (582566) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:11PM (#39006699) Homepage Journal

      I don't buy it that interpol can get out of it's part of this by saying that they "don't judge the merits of the warrants". They played a part in this and they need to be held to account. Turning a blind eye whilst helping such a cause holds as much water as "I was only following orders".

    • by Fulminata (999320) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:17PM (#39006755)
      That's not entirely true, Interpol is not supposed to get involved with any cases that are of a "political, military, religious or racial character." This was obviously of a religious character, and is why the agency is being taken to task.
  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @02:56PM (#39006589)
    The situation is sad, but I could not resist a joke to add some levity to the conversation.

    The same could be said about /. :
    'I have loved things about you (great submissions, brilliant posts) and I have hated things about you (useless news, trolls, goatse) and there is a lot I don't understand about you (why your code is still buggy after so many years) I will not pray for you.(But I will still read)'
  • Fuck you all (Score:5, Insightful)

    by future assassin (639396) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:13PM (#39006715) Homepage

    I'm just gonna say it right out. Fuck Muhammad and Islam, Fuck Jesus and Christianity and Fuck you and all religions where you have to pray to show devotion and destroy your enemies. Got to love this world. One one side you're getting fucked by your government, right next to it you are getting fucked by corporation and right next to that you're a target some some fucking religious freaks that instead of keeping away from you and minding their own business are trying to enslave or kill you.

  • A merciful god (Score:4, Informative)

    by wjcofkc (964165) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:26PM (#39006831)
    "Kashgari faces the death penalty in Saudi Arabia."

    In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate - funny how that works.
    If you don't get what I'm saying go thumb through the Quaran.
    • by Chrisq (894406) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @06:35PM (#39008097)

      "Kashgari faces the death penalty in Saudi Arabia." In the name of Allah, the merciful, the compassionate - funny how that works. If you don't get what I'm saying go thumb through the Quaran.

      Yes Allah the compassionate and Merciful, who selected a pedophile (Piss be upon him) war lord as his prophet, and taught "Kill the infidels wherever you find them".

  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:29PM (#39006855) Homepage

    Hamza Kashgari is a Saudi. The offense was committed in Saudi Arabia, from which he fled to Malaysia. That's a standard fugitive situation. He was in transit to New Zealand where he apparently intended to request political asylum.

    Al Jazeera has images of his Twitter feed [aljazeera.com], with English translations. Here's the full text:

    "On your birthday I find you in front of me wherever I go, I love many things about you and hate others, and there are many things about you I don't understand. On your birthday I won't bow in front of you, I won't kiss your hand. Instead, I will shake it as an equal, I will smile at you and you will smile back and I will talk to you as a friend, no more. All the great gods that we worship, all the great fears that we dread, all the desires that we wait for impatiently are but figments of our imagination. No Saudi women will go to hell, because it's impossible to go there twice."

    It's amazing how touchy the Islamic theocracies are about this sort of thing. It's as if they're terrified that their whole religious edifice will collapse if there's any criticism. Islam has never had a Martin Luther.

  • by kawabago (551139) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:45PM (#39006977)
    If God can be damaged by words, then God cannot be all powerful. If a Muslim's faith can be shaken by words, does the Muslim really have any faith at all?
    • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:12PM (#39007611) Journal

      As far as Muslims are concerned, God himself - through Muhammad - has indicated that he wants them to execute blasphemers and apostates in His name - so they are simply doing as ordered.

      Going into more details, Islam is somewhat different from Christianity in that it does not focus overly on perfect faith. It is certainly desirable, but it is recognized that many - indeed, most - people do not achieve that kind of perfection. Hence why Islam has that whole Shariah part, which is supposed to be the law for running the society in such a way that nudges people, even unbelievers, towards that state, by removing temptations to stray, and imitating the righteous behavior.

    • by thisnamestoolong (1584383) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @08:35PM (#39008751)
      This. Allah must be a sorry, sad little emo kid of a god if he is worried about what people are saying about him on Twitter. "Guys, stop talking about Muhammad on Twitter, we all know how sensitive Allah is -- he tried to overdose on Tylenol when that big bully in Denmark drew those cartoons!!"

      Bring on the blasphemy, it's the only way we can fight this bullshit.
  • As an atheist... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by rthille (8526) <web-slashdot.rangat@org> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:21PM (#39007665) Homepage Journal

    As an atheist, my list of "do not visit" countries is getting longer and longer.

    When the fuck are we humans going to make it properly out of the dark ages?

  • Dear Saudi Arabia: (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare (444983) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <erauqssemitelcric>> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @06:29PM (#39008063) Homepage Journal

    If you had no oil, your women would be going topless and your sons would listening to death metal. Because you'd have no power structure to impose your medieval thinking in the modern world. The only reason you can, is because we, in the part of the world that actually builds things and actually works and actually tries to build civil and fair societies, we need to pay you for your oil.

    But we in the modern world are pretty sick of your backwards thinking, and someday we'll figure out how to get off our addiction to the stuff I guess Allah buried in your sand. When we do that, you can be pretty sure that there will be no more force left in your ability to impose your ridiculous absurd thinking about religion on anyone, most definitely including your own children and grand children. AND YOUR WAY OF THINKING WILL DISAPPEAR.

    In short, I have every respect for Islam, but I have nothing but disrespect for your way of thinking of your religion. Fuck you you backwards ignorant tribal assholes. You don't stand for Islam. Any REAL Muslim with REAL CONFIDENCE in their religion would not care what some doubtful journalist tweets. Any cowardly, spineless, and completely without confidence person, who does not represent anything good about Islam, would get upset so easily.

    When the world's reliance on your oil comes to an end, your society disappears into the sand in a heartbeat. Nothing props it up but oil. Certainly not the glory of Islam, because you don't represent the glory of Islam, you represent feeble cowardice, lack of confidence and frailty, masquerading as religious devotion. And you call that your faith? It's pretty sad that this Westerner has more knowledge of the DIGNITIY and NOBILITY of YOUR FAITH than you do, judging by the cowardly way you think your religion needs to be defended. Congratulations on making your religion a joke by your cowardice and lack of confidence.

    The prophet was a man, you are frightened little children. You destroy your own religion.

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