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Journalist Arrested By Interpol For Tweet 915

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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  • 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.

  • 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 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 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 bloodhawk ( 813939 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:23PM (#39006811)
    Interpol isn't involved, Interpol merely forwards warrants to the relevant people, whether the warrant is valid or not is not something for interpol to judge.
  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:24PM (#39006813)

    Read up on Julian Assange

  • 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 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 Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:37PM (#39006919)

    "About the only two groups who haven't waged wars for their religion (or lack of one) are atheists and Buddhists"

    Buddhists I agree. Communism is atheistic and killed millions in it wars against those that opposed them.

  • by aristotle-dude ( 626586 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:42PM (#39006961)

    Whoa, that's a pretty broad brush you are painting with there. Let's not forget the millions of Muslim people who do not support terrorism and are as peaceful and law-abiding as most of the Christians in the world. And even Christians had their crusades.

    About the only two groups who haven't waged wars for their religion (or lack of one) are atheists and Buddhists, but the rest of the world's religions have all had their fringe elements, and those fringe elements are by definition not representative of the whole.

    You seem to conveniently forget that the Crusades were a response to 400 years of aggression which included the unprovoked invasion of Spain and Portugal. Show me any modern society that would wait a year let alone centuries to counter attack. The crusades were not only a counter attack against the invasion of the holy land by the muslims and killing of peasants on a pilgrimage to the holy land but it also served to weaken the forces in Spain allowing the eventual reconquest of Spain and portugal by christian kings. Without the crusades, france and eventually the rest of europe might have fallen and been ruled under sharia law.

    The freedom to be an asshole and attack religion exists in part to the crusades halting the advance of muslim armies in southern and eastern europe.

  • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:48PM (#39007007)
    The context is really important here; out of context it reads like the kind of thing an angsty teenager would tweet about his ex-girlfriend. Unfortunately, neither the slashdot summary nor the article it cites really provide the proper context. The New York Times has an article but it still does a pretty poor job of explain what exactly he did. The best explanation I've found online is at Al Arabiya http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/02/10/193811.html [alarabiya.net]

    Here's how they explain it:

    "Kashgari, a 23-year-old journalist with Al-Bilad newspaper in Jeddah, last week posted a series of tweets of imaginary conversations with the Prophet, in which he spoke to him as an equal, showing his admiration for the man but also confusion around his persona.

    “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” said one Tweet quoted by The Daily Beast."

    Once you read that, it's sort of like, "oh shit, now I understand why they're pissed off." Basically he's just saying that Mohammed is just some guy- an inspirational figure, but just a human being, not necessarily divine or divinely inspired. In Western theological terms, that's like saying that Christ is an inspirational person with some really interesting teachings, but not the Son of God. That's about as blasphemous as you can get. I feel really sorry for this guy- it took a lot of courage, or a lot of stupidity, or maybe both to do what he did- but his life as he knew it may be effectively over. Even if he apologized and the Saudi government pardoned him, he would still face the threat of being murdered if he ever returned to Saudi Arabia.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:49PM (#39007013)

    2 Timothy 3:16
    Psalm 19:7-9
    Deuteronomy 4:2
    Revelation 22:19

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:53PM (#39007049)

    "About the only two groups who haven't waged wars for their religion (or lack of one) are atheists and Buddhists"

    If you think Buddhists have never fought wars over their beliefs then you know very little of Asian history

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @03:58PM (#39007087)

    In Western theological terms, that's like saying that Christ is an inspirational person with some really interesting teachings, but not the Son of God. That's about as blasphemous as you can get.

    Except in Western terms, we don't put a price on your head for saying that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:03PM (#39007119)


    Article 2
    Its aims are:
    (1) To ensure and promote the widest possible mutual assistance between all criminal police
    authorities within the limits of the laws existing in the different countries and in the spirit of
    the "Universal Declaration of Human Rights";
    (2) To establish and develop all institutions likely to contribute effectively to the prevention and
    suppression of ordinary law crimes

    Article 3
    It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political,
    military, religious or racial character

    Unless Saudi Arabia lied about the charges against the man, Interpol had a duty not to issue a Red Notice for him.

  • by trip23 ( 727132 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:11PM (#39007191)

    Wow, that's a compelling argument. I'd put it a step above "You are a doody head" and a step below "Nuh uh".

    I suggest you go to Sweden and preach how you find homosexuality to be abhorrent and against "God's" will.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/20/three-muslims-convicted-gay-hate-leaflets [guardian.co.uk]
    So here's your example about homosexuality and "God's" will. Those damn Britains are against free speech!

    Or maybe go to Germany and say really love Hitler.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volksverhetzung [wikipedia.org]

    Quoting wikipedia:
    The German penal code (Strafgesetzbuch) establishes that someone is guilty of Volksverhetzung if the person
    in a manner that is capable of disturbing the public peace

    • incites hatred against segments of the population or calls for violent or arbitrary measures against them; or
    • assaults the human dignity of others by insulting, maliciously maligning, or defaming segments of the population

    So yes, if you are saying I love Hitler and let's kill some Arabs in Berlin, you are in conflict with the law, which - in liberal/western european democraties - tries to protect his citizens against organised attempts to commit mass murder.

    What TFA describes as the reason for detention would be protected in the UK and Germany.

    Do you see the difference in the reasoning in countries like UK or Germany compared to Saudi-Arabia? They are fundamentally opposed in terms where your freedom is limited. A concept of human rights and secular law on one side and a concept of religious law / God's law on the other.

  • by tokul ( 682258 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:12PM (#39007195)

    certainly one cannot be executed for leaving their religion

    apostasy is punishable by death in Islam

  • by mosb1000 ( 710161 ) <mosb1000@mac.com> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:12PM (#39007197)

    First of all, none of these verses were written before the Bible was compiled. So it's a bit silly to say that any verse in the Bible is referring to the Bible itself.

    2 Timothy 3:16: Does saying something is God breathed mean that it is the true word of God? Is Paul really trying to set the Bible (which was not compiled) as an infallible text? Or are you taking him out of context?

    Psalm 19:7-9: Is it reasonable to say that the Law and the Testimony of God refers to the Bible? Or are you talking this out of context as well?

    Deuteronomy 4:2: This is a commandment, not a claim.

    Revelation 22:19: Is it referring to the Bible? Or the Book or Revelation? Or the prophecy itself?

  • 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 canadian_right ( 410687 ) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:26PM (#39007295) Homepage

    In the west the "not putting a price on your head" for blasphemy is fairly recent thing. From wikipiedia:

    The last person in Britain to be sent to prison for blasphemy was John William Gott on 9 December 1921

    and as late as 1977 a Briton was charged with blasphemy. So we in the west are two or three hundred years ahead of the middle east in moral development which shouldn't make us too smug. Just look at the USA and the number of people trying to get religion back into schools and courts. Don't be complacent. Superstition and hate needs to be constantly fought.

  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @04:49PM (#39007421)

    > In Western theological terms, that's like saying that Christ is an inspirational person with some really interesting teachings, but not the Son of God.


    1. Christ is a GREEK TITLE , not a NAME, (there are 20+ CHRISTS = MESSIAHS in the Old Testament), and

    2. He said himself "Why do you call me good? There is no one good except God"

    You'd have a point if it weren't for ignorant Christians.

  • by anwaya ( 574190 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:23PM (#39007671)
    The invisible wizard of Islam is, historically, the invisible wizard of Abraham: the invisible wizards of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity are, as a matter of fact, one and the same.
  • by cosmicaug ( 150534 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:40PM (#39007757)

    True as that may be, what the hell was Interpol doing passing on the arrest note? Don't they at least bother to look at what it's actually for?

    http://www.interpol.int/content/download/9429/69209/version/5/file/ConstitutionGeneralRegulations.pdf [interpol.int]

    Like the article says, it's against Interpol rules to be involved in something like this.

    Article 3
    It is strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political,
    military, religious or racial character.

    The proper thing would be to not extradite him. What will actually happen is he well be extradited because of (pre-election) politics and he stands a reasonably high chance of being executed.

  • by Culture20 ( 968837 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:48PM (#39007807)

    2 Timothy 3:16 states that the Scripture is "inspired by God", thus refuting the GGP's claim that "the Bible never actually claims to be the word of God"

    Bzzzt! Wrong! The Letter to Timothy, when it was written, was not Scripture, nor was it probably ever thought it would be Scripture. Paul was referring to Jewish Scriptures and likely one or more of the Gospels. The only book in the Bible where something like what you're saying takes place is Revelation, that that's a direct admonition not to change the words of the book of Revelation, and says nothing about the other collected works within the Bible. You're reading without thinking about the context, like the guy above who thinks that Jesus and the disciples must have been homosexual because they kissed each others' cheeks as a greeting (I know he was talking about the Grand Inquisitor, but they are described doing that in the Gospels too).

  • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @05:49PM (#39007813) Homepage

    Unalienable rights are unalienable by religions.

    The concept of unalienable rights is a product of the 18th century and inextricably linked to religious belief: rights are inalienable because they are endowed by a Creator. Since modern societies find it increasingly unlikely that there is a Creator, that religious basis is no longer tenable and most of the West (with rising nations like China) now follows some variant of utilitarianism where rights are a convenient and mutable legal fiction to ensure general quality of life.

  • by MikeBabcock ( 65886 ) <mtb-slashdot@mikebabcock.ca> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @06:08PM (#39007941) Homepage Journal

    The second question was obviously rhetorical, and meant to point out that the one talking to him was skirting the point of acknowledging that he is God. He acknowledged his Godhood on several other occasions, making this one out to be a denial is to ignore the rest of his words.

  • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @06:24PM (#39008039)

    Well, Stalin appears to have killed upward of 20 million, Mao was similar. That's a lot of stiffs for Islam to live up to. Personally, I think they have it in them to do it, but they'll have to up their game. As soon as the lunatics finish taking over Pakistan and Iran gets their Shi'ite bomb and the Mideast Sunni's match it, they'll be plenty of stiffs to go around.

    First up, they'll try to finish the civil war started in the 600's when someone's grandnephew got whacked. After that, which ever side "wins" will feel like they should win something besides smoking ruins, so there go the Israelis. Nothing warms an Islamic fanatic's heart like smoking Jews. Notice their fondness for the Holocaust.

    Historical note: the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem was made a Gruppenfuhrer in the Nazi Reich, he rather thought Hitler had the right idea on how to deal with the Jewish problem, Yasser Arafat was his nephew. During the war, he was good friends with the SS and broadcast to the mideast advocating exterminating the Jews, he also was instrumental setting up local SS in the Balkans to wipe out Jewish communities there as well and pushing Eichmann to get on with the job in Europe proper. Arafat idolized him.

  • by gtall ( 79522 ) on Saturday February 11, 2012 @06:35PM (#39008093)

    Well, the U.S. loved Egypt until the revolt, then it told Mubarak to hit the road, Jack. After Quaddafi was "rehabilitated", didn't take Washington too long to show him we loved him enough to send the very best in the business end of smart bombs.

    Wanna bet if a good revolt happened in Saudi Arabia how long it would take Washington to heave the royals overboard and start anew with whatever takes their place. Mind you, what will take their place won't be pleasant for anyone, but that won't stop Washington...well...Obama anyhow, from trying.

    Re the imperialism thing, err...we sort of gave Iraq back to the Iraqis, we didn't even steal their oil. Of course they are making a mincemeat of their new country, but that's what happens with tribal societies that are in shotgun marriages. Come to it, we gave Kuwait back too. Hmmm...we gave Panama back as well. Hey, is there a pattern here?

    Got any other straw men in addition to "imperialism"? By the way, last we checked in on S. East Asia, the countries there appear to want to be snuggle bunnies with the U.S. Something about China throwing their weight around or something. Hell, even Vietnam wants to get under the covers. Could be a trend? No, couldn't be, must be U.S. Imperialism.

  • by cheater512 ( 783349 ) <nick@nickstallman.net> on Saturday February 11, 2012 @06:46PM (#39008153) Homepage

    So? That doesn't nullify the fact that the roots for all 3 are the same.

    Anyone saying otherwise is just having a "My god is better than your god" pissing match, not realising that the god is one and the same.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 11, 2012 @07:13PM (#39008327)

    The single greatest cause of death in human history is surely infectious disease.

The tree of research must from time to time be refreshed with the blood of bean counters. -- Alan Kay